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City Council members to revive mask mandate effort

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 19:56:17-05

Two members of the Lafayette City Council are reviving their effort to pass a Lafayette Parish mask mandate.

Councilman Glenn Lazard confirmed original reporting from The Current about his plans with Councilwoman Nanette Cook to revive the effort they abandoned last summer.

In July, Lazard had requested an executive order creating a local mask mandate from Mayor-President Josh Guillory, who declined. Guillory, an attorney, told Lazard - who also is an attorney - that the measure would violate people's civil rights.

Lazard said it's not.

"If it was, we wouldn't have laws requiring seat belts and other safety and health regulations," he said. "I really wish this wasn't necessary. But we've come to the conclusion that it is and it is incumbent upon us to take action."

We reached out late Wednesday, after business hours, for a comment from Guillory. In the past, it has been the position of the administration that enforcement of the governor's mask mandate and other COVID orders is the responsibility of the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Lazard some have said this is "personal" for him. He says that's absolutely correct.

"People close to me have passed away from COVID," he said. "We have got to do more in Lafayette than what we've been doing."

Lazard said Lafayette's positivity rate - which at 9.8 last week was higher than St. Martin, Iberia, Acadia, St. Landry, Evangeline, St. Mary and Jeff Davis parishes - supports his argument.

"If that doesn't get our attention, I don't know what will," he said. "This virus is not going away anytime soon."

There is a state mask mandate in Louisiana, as well as in 36 other states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico. That's because it has been shown to be one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent transmission of COVID-19, Lazard said.

Lazard said he and Cook are working to call an emergency meeting to bring the ordinance before the council.