Gov. John Bel Edwards explains maskless photo

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 4:27 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards is facing criticism on social media after a photo of him not wearing a mask in public was circulated online.

During his regularly scheduled coronavirus (COVID-19) news conference Wednesday, the governor said he did nothing wrong and was following all COVID-19 guidelines.

The governor has routinely urged people to wear a mask to fight the spread of COVID-19.

A spokeswoman for the governor’s office says the photo was taken in the second week of November at the Baton Rouge Country Club. The spokeswoman says Edwards wore a mask while golfing that day and then removed it after sitting down outdoors to eat. She says someone at another table spoke to the governor and the governor “briefly” stood up to speak to that person, while forgetting to put his mask back on.

“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.”

“He is not in violation of his own orders,” said Deputy Communications Director Shauna Sanford. “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.”

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