Informer: No new mask mandate from governor

Published 7:47 am Sunday, January 23, 2022

Now that the omicron variant is picking up stream, is Gov. John Bel Edwards going to make kids start wearing masks again at school? 

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will not reinstitute a statewide mask mandate amid the current COVID-19 omicron variant surge, but he is looking to local school districts to require masks for K-12 school children.

“I can only tell you the mask mandate makes sense especially in that environment where you’re going to have those young people who have the lowest vaccination rates in the state who have to be in that class and if we want to have in person learning, with the fewest disruptions then we need to control transmissions,” Edwards said.

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The governor made the remarks during his now-weekly COVID news conferences.

“I wish more school districts, I wish all of them, would take the recommendations of the office of public health around a mask mandate, but at this point in time, I’m not going to impose that mandate from my position as governor.”

Fund COVID-related

What is the Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Fund? Does it help with hurricane recovery? 

The program is intended to help those who may have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to make mortgage payments.

Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Fund provides up to $25,000 per eligible homeowner to help avoid foreclosure. The program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided $10 billion to help homeowners behind on their mortgages.

“We know that many Louisiana homeowners are struggling financially from the pandemic and, in many cases, have fallen behind on their mortgages and are facing foreclosure,” Edwards said in a news release announcing the program. “This program provides an avenue for resources and assistance that has not been available before, and this is an important step to help ensure that low- and moderate-income homeowners and their families are able to stay in their homes. I encourage everyone who may be eligible to apply.”

Louisiana is set to receive $146.7 million to administer the fund through the Louisiana Office of Community Development.

To qualify, applicants must own or occupy a home in Louisiana as their primary residence, meet income qualifications and have experienced financial hardship associated with the pandemic, such as a job loss, reduction in household income, or significant increase in health care costs.

“The program is available statewide to homeowners experiencing financial hardship after Jan. 21, 2020, and earning less than 150 percent of the area median income or 100 percent of the national median income, whichever is greater, based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development income data,” Edwards said.

Informer is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email