Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defended himself against criticism after a photo surfaced of him maskless while out in public at a restaurant earlier in November in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There was absolutely nothing I did that day that violated the rules that were in place,” the governor said when asked about the photo during the news conference Wednesday.
“Had that photo been taken ten seconds later, you would have seen me with a mask on,” the governor said. “I don’t think we ask anyone to eat at a table with a mask on.”
Today, Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) confirmed the authenticity of a photograph taken of him socializing maskless and in close contact with others at the Baton Rouge Country Club in mid-November just before enacting stricter COVID-19 lockdowns for the state. pic.twitter.com/HFo1Z4wl6j
— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) December 2, 2020
The governor caught flack after the photo emerged of him at the Baton Rouge Country Club, speaking to someone at a table with multiple patrons, none of whom were wearing a mask.
Edwards has implemented a number of restrictions on gatherings and urged constituents to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The photo, taken in the second week of November, was during Edwards’ Phase 3 order requiring everyone to wear a face mask when social distancing with a minimum of six feet of space between individuals was not possible.
“He is not in violation of his own orders,” Deputy Communications Director Shauna Sanford said on Wednesday. “He had his mask on the entire time that day, except for when he was eating. Someone said something to him and he responded in a very brief moment. He was not doing anything that goes against his Phase 3 order.”