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Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks at a press conference in which he addressed the state's COVID-19 situation, including an extension through at least Oct. 27 of the indoor mask mandate. State health officer Dr. Joe Kanter spoke as well.

With a lot riding on action in Congress on many economic issues, it's important to be reminded that the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is very much a work in progress.

The nation's top economic officials, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell, head of the Federal Reserve, underlined that reality in messages to Congress. The rapid spread of the delta variant of the virus is hurting America's recovery. It's clearly vital, amid all else economic, that individual Americans keep their guards up right now: Vaccinations are vital and boosters are becoming available for those already having been vaccinated.

For Gov. John Bel Edwards, that means the painful step of extending mask requirements indoors into October.

The governor said that COVID-19 remains a deadly problem in all 64 parishes of his state, even though hospitalizations and other key indicators have moved down in September.

"Every community in the state of Louisiana continues to have a high rate of COVID," Edwards told reporters during a briefing. "We are moving in the right direction but our baseline numbers are still far too high."

The face mask mandate applies to indoor settings, aside from homes, for those ages 5 or older or children enrolled in kindergarten as well as K-12 students and college campuses.

It is important, even at an economic cost, that precautions like social distancing and mask-wearing are kept up in this sensitive turning point.

These come at a cost, as any restaurateur can tell you. But the economy's recovery is obviously dependent on continuing the steps to rein in the delta variant.

Mask up, Louisiana. It's good for business, too.

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