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A customer wears her mask and gloves while loading the groceries into the back of her vehicle after shopping at Walmart Thursday May 14, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La.

Most local and national businesses said they will keep requiring that customers wear masks, despite Gov. John Bel Edwards' announcement Tuesday lifting the statewide mask mandate.

Walmart said it is not changing its mask policy. We serve millions of Americans every week and believe our policy of requiring associates and customers to wear masks in our stores has helped protect them during the pandemic," the company said. 

Best Buy said it will maintain mask mandates at all of its stores. 

Lowes said it will request customers continue to wear masks.

Target will continue to require customers wear masks.

One exception is the Handy Stop Market & Café in downtown Lafayette. Owner Bradley Cruice said masks are now optional for customers and staff. Previously a sign on the door indicated that masks were mandatory for entry.

The governor’s order will not change the mask policy at the 45 McDonald’s locations in south Louisiana operated by MacLaff, Inc., president and CEO E.J. Krampe said. Company leaders, however, will re-evaluate the policy over time, he said.  

Brookshire Grocery Company, which operates 13 Super 1 Foods stores in Acadiana, will "strongly encourage" customers to wear a face covering but continue to require employee-partners and vendors to do so, a company spokesperson said Wednesday.

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The company will also continue other COVID-19 protocol measures, including social distancing and sanitation practices. 

Edwards eliminated the statewide mask mandate, citing the widespread availability of the COVID vaccine and a continuing decline in the number of cases. The order had been in place since July.

In response to the governor's move, many local governments also lifted city and parishwide masking mandates. Lafayette Parish does not have a mask mandate. 

Masks will still be required at K-12 schools, early childhood education centers, colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, on public transit and at some state government buildings, according to an order issued by the Louisiana Department of Health.  

Edwards repeatedly warned the public Tuesday not to mistake the easing of the mask mandate as a sign that the pandemic is over, hinting that restrictions could return if cases of the deadly virus once again spiral out of control.

“We are not on a one-way street moving away from the pandemic. It is very much a two-way street and we do not want to go in the other direction,” Edwards said. 

The updated proclamation, which went into effect Wednesday, also allows large venues to open up to 75% occupancy. Those venues can up that occupancy to 100% if they require masks. Outdoor events will no longer have capacity restrictions and live music can take place if performers on stage are 10 feet away from the audience. 


Email Timothy Boone at tboone@theadvocate.com.