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Two Lafayette City Council members won't pursue local mask ordinance

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-18 13:59:11-04

Two Lafayette City Council members who recently called for a public mask mandate in Lafayette have decided not to pursue the ordinance.

Councilman Glenn Lazard and Councilwoman Nanette Cook raised the question at a City Council meeting on July 7, questioning if the council and Josh Guillory's administration were doing enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. Guillory has said repeatedly that he doesn't plan on enforcing a local mask mandate.

Lazard and Cook said Friday that the statewide mandate from Gov. John Bel Edwards, the effort to make face masks readily available to the public, and reassurance from Guillory that the mandate will be enforced helped to alleviate their primary concerns.

"Our primary concerns are to encourage the use of face masks in public, thereby reducing the growing number of positive covid-19 cases in our community and strain on our health care system. We fully support the efforts of the Governor's office, medical professionals, and concerned citizens throughout our community to do everything within our power and utilize every tool at our disposal to combat this deadly virus," the statement continues.

Lazard and Cook said another priority is to not create additional divisiveness within the community, referencing a recent opinion issued by Attorney General Jeff Landry on the legality of Gov. Edwards' latest executive order.

"We do not want to do anything to add to the confusion created by the opinion letter recently released by the Attorney General, along with comments made and actions taken by some elected officials that are clearly counterproductive and distract from what should be our primary objective."

The council members say their comments at the meeting were not politically motivated and were not meant to be a "rally cry," but a response to the current health crisis and "numerous pleas" from citizens and organizations in the community.

Gov. Edwards issued the statewide mandate on July 11, making Louisiana one of more than a dozen states nationwide that now require masks.

Read the full statement from Lazard and Cook below:

This is to inform you that we have decided not to pursue a local face mask ordinance at this time. Recent developments, primarily the issuance of a state mandate by the governor's office, reassurance by the office of the mayor- president that the mandate will be enforced, and making face masks readily available to the general public have helped to alleviated our primary concerns. Our primary concerns are to encourage the use of face masks in public, thereby reducing the growing number of positive covid-19 cases in our community and strain on our health care system.

We fully support the efforts of the Governor's office, medical professionals, and concerned citizens throughout our community to do everything within our power and utilize every tool at our disposal to combat this deadly virus.

Additionally, we do not want to do anything to add to the confusion created by the opinion letter recently released by the Attorney General, along with comments made and actions taken by some elected officials that are clearly counterproductive and distract from what should be our primary objective. The last thing we want to do is create additional divisiveness within our community. All of our time, energy, and resources need to be focused on curtailing the spread of the virus. Our fellow brothers and sisters that are most vulnerable, first responders, frontline workers, and healthcare professionals deserve no less.

Our requests at the July 7 council meeting and subsequent consideration of a local face mask ordinance were never politically motivated or some sort of "rally cry". It was simply a response to a growing health crisis, in addition to numerous pleas from concerned citizens and organizations throughout the community, that required our immediate attention. We will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.

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