NewsLafayette Parish


Lafayette council member responds to governor’s criticism on rejection of local mask mandate

Posted at 9:03 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 13:21:36-05

Governor John Bel Edwards recently had some harsh words about mask enforcement in Lafayette.

In an interview with The Washington Post, the Governor spoke about the push-back against the recent mask mandate by the Lafayette City Council.

Earlier this month, the council rejected an emergency ordinance to mandate masks or face coverings in some business and public places. The governor calls that a "failure of leadership."

The ordinance was ultimately rejected by a 3-2 vote, with only councilmen Glenn Lazard and Pat Lewis voting in favor of it. One council member says they're standing by their votes regardless of criticism.

In an interview Friday with The Washington Post, Governor Edwards called the opposition "unfortunate."

"How this has taken an air of partisanship I will never know," Edwards said. "It's a basic failure of leadership."

He continued, "That region of our state, at numerous times throughout the pandemic, has actually had some of the highest positivity rates and case growth and hospitalizations, and hospital capacity has been threatened in that region of our state probably more than any other."

READ MORE: Edwards calls Lafayette's rejection of mask mandate a "failure of leadership"

We reached out to all city council members about the governor's comments.

In a statement to KATC, council member Andy Naquin says he voted against the ordinance because it would put a strain on law enforcement and rely on local businesses as the only responsible parties.

He does encourage everyone to respect the state mandate.

We've reached out to the governor's office for comment on the lack of enforcement but we have not heard back.

Guillory released the following statement Saturday morning:

It is deeply hypocritical for Governor John Bel Edwards to attack Lafayette in the national media, criticizing our City Council for recognizing the challenges and cost involved in enforcing a local mask mandate. Where is the Governor’s enforcement of his mask mandate? The State Fire Marshal reports to him. ATC reports to him. How many citations have they written for the nearly 4,000 complaints they have received? Zero.

The real failure of leadership is immediately evident in Governor Edwards’ decision to use his “mask mandate” as a partisan weapon, rather than actually enforce it. How much of the $1.9 billion provided to the State by the Federal Government for COVID-19 response has been dedicated to enforcement of his mandate? Why does he expect local governments, yet again, to bear the cost of state mandates?

If the Governor wants to use the national media to audition for a job in Washington DC, he might want to make sure his own house is in order first.

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