BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Louisiana judge has upheld Gov. John Bel Edwards’ statewide mask mandate and bar restrictions as legal and enforceable.

Judge Janice Clark on Thursday rejected claims from Jefferson Parish business owners that the Democratic governor overstepped his legal authority in enacting the coronavirus rules. Clark delivered her ruling after a two-day hearing in which the plaintiffs argued Edwards’ regulations were illegal, unfair and an overreaction to the coronavirus outbreak. The Edwards administration countered that the rules helped to slow the virus’ spread and protect public safety.

Clark handed down her decision as Louisiana’s health department announced the death toll from the COVID-19 disease has topped 4,000.

(Story written By MELINDA DESLATTE/AP)