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New rules and how to report violations of the governor's orders

wearing a mask
Posted at 8:37 PM, May 03, 2020

UPDATE: On May 4, the governor announced a new website that offers businesses information on how to comply with the orders, and allows citizens to report businesses they feel aren't following the rules.

Read about it, and get the link, here.

The governor's extension of the stay-at-home order added some requirements, and some people aren't following them.

For instance, the order makes it mandatory for retail and restaurant workers who have contact with the public to wear masks.

Also, although restaurants and churches can open with outdoor seating or tents, there are rules that must be followed: restaurants cannot provide table service to outside diners, and church tents must be open, not enclosed.

You can see details about the new requirements and documents related to these new requirements by scrolling down.

But some of our viewers are seeing violations of these orders, so the question arises: what do you do?

The state Fire Marshal says you can report violations of social distancing rules - like occupancy of a building or an enclosed tent - to their website. Use this form.

Perceived violations of mask, PPE and reporting violations should be reported to the state Department of Health at 225-342-9500.

But most local law enforcement will take those calls as well.

In St. Landry Parish, officials have said at press conferences in recent weeks that businesses that refuse to comply risk having their utilities cut off or their business licenses revoked.

In Lafayette Parish, Sheriff Mark Garber has asked citizens to call his office so his deputies can work with business owners or managers and church leaders to bring the entity into compliance.

Lafayette Police spokesman Sgt. Wayne Griffin said the same thing. If you see a business in Lafayette in violation, call 911, he said.

"We will get some officers out there first to see if they are in violation, and if they are we will try to help them out and give them recommendations on how they can come into compliance," Griffin said.

At first, the LPD had a group of officers assigned to enforcement, but now "all our road officers are well-educated on the orders from the governor and the mayor," he said.

Officers do respond to reports of violations, he said.

"A lot of times, the businesses just don't know," he said. "We educate them on what they can and can't do."

Businesses have different rules, according to what they do, he explained. An insurance agency won't be the same as a restaurant, for instance.

"First, we want to educate them. Then we give them suggestions on how to come into compliance," he said. "We're not trying to write tickets or shut businesses down or turn off their utilities. If we have to, that's a tool in our toolbox, but that's a last resort."

Primarily, the aim is to "fight this virus," he said.

In Duson, Sgt. Calvin Francis with Duson Police recommends calling 911 as well.

"We go in, if we see an employee not wearing a mask, we tell them bout the governors orders, how they're endangering themselves, and the customers," Francis says.

The Duson Police Department is being vigilant in enforcing the Governor's order. Officers are going around, checking on businesses to make sure they're compliant.

"We do proactive checks daily with our normal business checks that we do daily," he said.

Francis says the police department is giving the town's businesses every opportunity to get adjusted to the rule.

"We try to show compassion, and give you a warning and a citation, but the next step can be jail time. We don't want it to come to that, but we all have a job to do," he says.

THE NEW RULES

Here's what the governor's website says about the new order:

Under the extended order, which will be issued on Friday, May 1, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things. Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open. Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with fewer than 10 people total inside.

Three major changes in the new Stay at Home order include:

  • Malls will remain closed to the public, but stores may open for curbside delivery.
  • Restaurants will be allowed to open their outside areas for patrons to eat meals only, without tableside service.
  • All employees of a business who have contact with the public must wear a mask.

The governor's order has never ordered that businesses that aren't on the specific "closed" list or aren't deemed "essential" be closed. They've always been allowed to stay open, as long as fewer than 10 people are inside at a time. Now, their employees must wear masks as well.

Here's are some of the high points of what the state Fire Marshal says about how churches can operate:

  • Tents can't be enclosed, the sides must be open
  • Only people who live in the same house can sit together
  • There must be six feet in all directions around each family group
  • Any elements of the service involving human contact must be modified
  • Crowd managers must be provided by the church to enforce the rules
  • There must be one crowd manager for each 50 people attending
  • Crowd managers must wear masks
  • Tables, chairs and other seating must be cleaned after each service

Here's the Fire Marshal's complete post about church services: