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Local sheriff's offices issue statements on mask enforcement

Mask
Posted at 12:41 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 13:44:39-04

Local sheriff's offices have issued statements on the new mask requirements issued by Governor John Bel Edwards and how those agencies will be enforcing those requirements for businesses and citizens.

On Wednesday, July 15, the Iberia Parish and St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Offices issued their statements on the mask requirements.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office:

On Saturday July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards released Proclamation 89-20, which included additional Covid-19 mitigation measures including the closure of bars and crowd size limitations at indoor facilities. The proclamation also included the requirement for the wearing of facial covers (masks covering the mouth and nose) at any commercial establishment and government buildings open to the public whether indoor or outdoor where strict social distancing cannot be maintained.

The aspect of the proclamation that has caused the most confusion is enforcement of the mandatory face covering requirement. I have received inquiries from residents and business owners alike as to whether they can expect a citation or arrest for failing to abide by the new rule.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Deputies will only become involved if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management for failure to wear a face covering. Louisiana Revised Statute R.S.14:63.3 details the law of "Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden".

The primary responsibility for compliance with the "mandatory mask requirement" as per the Governor's proclamation is imposed upon businesses, organizations and government officials who manage facilities open to the public. These groups must require that persons entering their premises wear a face covering unless they fall under any of the exceptions listed in the order. Citations referred to in the Governor's Order cannot be written to individual citizens as per the order itself.

According to Section 5 of the Governor's Order, legal enforcement responsibility as to businesses and organizations lies with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as well as the State Fire Marshall, and all complaints should be directed to those agencies. The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office urges all citizens to respect the concerns and health of vulnerable members of our population including the elderly. Some may not have the luxury of constantly being able to stay at home and must obtain groceries and other services. If not for yourself, please be considerate of them.

The complete text of this Proclamation can be viewed, here.

Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office:

On Saturday July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards released Proclamation 89-20, which included additional Covid-19 mitigation measures including the closure of bars and crowd size limitations at indoor facilities. The proclamation also included the requirement for the wearing of facial covers (masks covering the mouth and nose) at any commercial establishment and government buildings open to the public whether indoor or outdoor where strict social distancing cannot be maintained.

The aspect of the proclamation that has caused the most confusion is enforcement of the mandatory face covering requirement. I have received inquiries from residents and business owners alike as to whether they can expect a citation or arrest for failing to abide by the new rule.

Iberia Parish Sheriff's Deputies will only become involved if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management for failure to wear a face covering. Louisiana Revised Statute R.S.14:63.3 details the law of "Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden".

The primary responsibility for compliance with the "mandatory mask requirement" as per the Governor's proclamation is imposed upon businesses, organizations and government officials who manage facilities open to the public. These groups must require that persons entering their premises wear a face covering unless they fall under any of the exceptions listed in the order. Citations referred to in the Governor's Order cannot be written to individual citizens as per the order itself.

According to Section 5 of the Governor's Order, legal enforcement responsibility as to businesses and organizations lies with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as well as the State Fire Marshall, and all complaints should be directed to those agencies. The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office urges all citizens to respect the concerns and health of vulnerable members of our population including the elderly. Some may not have the luxury of constantly being able to stay at home and must obtain groceries and other services. If not for yourself, please be considerate of them.

The complete text of this Proclamation can be viewed, here.

On Tuesday, July 14 the Lafayette Parish, St. Mary Parish and Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Offices issued statements. Read them below:

The Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office:

“On Saturday July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards released Proclamation 89-20, which included additional Covid-19 mitigation measures including the closure of bars and crowd size limitations at indoor facilities. The proclamation also included the requirement for the wearing of facial covers (masks covering the mouth and nose) at any commercial establishment and government buildings open to the public whether indoor or outdoor where strict social distancing cannot be maintained.

The aspect of the proclamation that has caused the most confusion is enforcement of the mandatory face covering requirement. I have received inquiries from residents and business owners alike as to whether they can expect a citation or arrest for failing to abide by the new rule.

Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Deputies will only become involved if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management for failure to wear a face covering. Louisiana Revised Statute R.S.14:63.3 details the law of “Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden”. (http://legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=78590)

The primary responsibility for compliance with the “mandatory mask requirement” as per the Governor’s proclamation is imposed upon businesses, organizations and government officials who manage facilities open to the public. These groups must require that persons entering their premises wear a face covering unless they fall under any of the exceptions listed in the order. Citations referred to in the Governor’s Order cannot be written to individual citizens as per the order itself.

According to Section 5 of the Governor’s Order, legal enforcement responsibility as to businesses and organizations lies with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as well as the State Fire Marshall, and all complaints should be directed to those agencies. The Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office urges all citizens to respect the concerns and health of vulnerable members of our population including the elderly. Some may not have the luxury of constantly being able to stay at home and must obtain groceries and other services. If not for yourself, please be considerate of them.

The complete text of this Proclamation can be viewed at: https://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/Proclamations/2020/89-JBE-2020.pdf."

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office:

In it, the sheriff's office says it will generally try to educate people about the requirements of the order and mask-wearing, but deputies will assist businesses with customers who won't mask up and won't leave:

"In general, our approach will be to inform and educate the public. We believe enforcement action would only be appropriate in the most extreme circumstances and such circumstances would also involve the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, as directed by the governor’s order," the statement reads. "Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Deputies will become involved when necessary to keep the peace if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management for failure to wear a face covering."

The order says deputies won't write citations to individuals who won't wear a mask, but they will respond to all complaints.

Here's the full statement:

On Saturday July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards released Proclamation 89-20 which contained additional Covid-19 mitigation measures including the closure of bars and crowd size limitations at indoor facilities. The proclamation also included the requirement for the wearing of facial covers (masks) at any commercial establishment and government buildings open to the public whether indoor or outdoor with exceptions allowing for social distancing.

The aspect of the proclamation that has caused the most confusion is enforcement of the mandatory face covering requirement. The Lafayette Sheriff’s Office has received inquiries from residents and business owners alike as to whether they can expect a citation or arrest for failing to abide by the new rule. In general, our approach will be to inform and educate the public. We believe enforcement action would only be appropriate in the most extreme circumstances and such circumstances would also involve the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, as directed by the governor’s order.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Deputies will become involved when necessary to keep the peace if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after requested to do so by management for failure to wear a face covering. Louisiana Revised Statute R.S.14:63.3 details the law of “Entry on or remaining in places or on land after being forbidden”.

The primary responsibility for compliance with the “mandatory mask requirement” as per the governor’s proclamation is imposed upon businesses, organizations and government officials who manage facilities open to the public. These groups must require persons entering their premises to wear a face covering unless they fall under any of the exceptions listed in the order. Citations referred to in the governor’s order cannot be written to individual citizens as per the order itself.

According to Section 5 of the governor’s order, legal enforcement responsibility as to businesses and organizations lies with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as well as the State Fire Marshal. The Lafayette Sheriff’s Office will respond to all complaints we receive. After attempts are made to urge responsible compliance by businesses and organizations, (except with exigent circumstances) continued violations will be referred to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for further enforcement action.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office urges all citizens to respect the concerns and health of vulnerable members of our population including the elderly. Some may not have the luxury of constantly being able to stay at home and must obtain groceries and other services. If not for yourself, please be considerate of those around you.

St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office:

St. Mary Parish Sheriff Blaise Smith announces the SMPSO clarification of the mask mandate.

“With the public asking questions about how we will respond during this time of a mask mandate from the governor, as well as speculation on social media which includes misleading information, we want to be clear with the public concerning what our response will be during this time.” -Sheriff Blaise Smith

On Saturday, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide “mask mandate,” which states that people will be required to wear masks when entering businesses or outdoors if they cannot be 6 feet away from others.

The governor’s full proclamation can be read here: https://gov.louisiana.gov/…/Proclamat…/2020/89-JBE-2020.pdf…

The question for us has been “how will you enforce this mandate?” We want to make sure we are clear on how the mask mandate works.

When it comes to the enforcement of the mask mandate for individuals and businesses, please consider the following points:

1- The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office is NOT the agency that will be issuing citations to businesses that are not in compliance. The proclamation also indicates that GOHSEP and the State Fire Marshal are directed to ensure compliance. Therefore, anyone wishing to report someone for not wearing a mask at an establishment should do so to an employee of that establishment. If the response is unsatisfactory, you may then contact the State Fire Marshal at 1-800-256-5452.

2- The SMPSO will NOT be issuing any citations to individuals who do not wear a mask. Regarding enforcement, the proclamation states that citations “shall be written only to businesses or organizations, other than religious organizations, that fail to enforce the requirement to wear face coverings.” Citations cannot be written to an individual for refusing to wear a mask, only to businesses or organizations that do not enforce the mandate inside their establishments.

3- If a business asks a customer to leave for any reason (including refusal to wear a mask), then the SMPSO would answer that call from the business. Any person who breaks the law by disturbing the peace or remaining on private property after being forbidden could be given a citation or arrested. This is no different than the way in which the SMPSO answers these types of calls normally.

4- There are exceptions made for persons who are not required to wear a mask. Those exceptions are listed in the governor’s proclamation. The public is reminded that some persons not wearing a mask may be doing so due to one of those exceptions.

Sheriff Blaise Smith encourages the public to be courteous and understanding when patronizing local businesses. If the business owner asks for a customer to wear a mask, please do so or leave the business.

Our St. Mary Parish business owners are operating to serve their customers and now have the mask mandate handed down to them from the governor. Your kindness and courtesy at this time will be deeply appreciated by our business owners.