Mask confusion in Cenla following Gov. Edwards’ mandate

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 6:32 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - After Governor Edwards issued a statewide mask mandate on July 11, several parishes across Louisiana chose to enforce the mandate in the way that they felt would best benefit the people in that area. However, that mandate has seemed to cause some confusion within the community as to what is actually being enforced.

Pineville’s Chief of Staff, Rich Dupree, said, “I think there was confusion on what enforcement actually meant.”

Dupree said that on the first day the statewide mask mandate went into effect, the City of Pineville received around 20 phone calls from those in the community expressing their concern following the mandate.

“I think some of the phone calls were people genuinely wanting to know what the mayor was enforcing, and I think several of the calls were people wanting to tell on somebody or saying you should do something about this,” said Dupree.

Many others expressed their confusion about the mandate on social media of whether or not they would be fined if they chose to not comply.

In section four of Governor Edward’s mandate, it states that citations will be given to businesses, not including religious organizations, that fail to enforce the requirement of wearing a mask. However, it does not state that an individual will be fined or arrested for not wearing one in public.

On Monday, following Governor Edwards’ announcement, Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood echoed the mandate as well.

“I think where we will come into play is when businesses that choose to say that you cannot come in. Refuse you service because you’re not wearing a mask, causing some kind of disturbance, or something like that, then call us, and that’s when we’ll get involved,” Wood said.

Dupree went on to add, “We’re not setting up checkpoints at your local neighborhood grocery store to cite you if you’re not wearing a mask. That’s not what we’re going to do. We don’t have the personnel for that. That’s not for us to enforce.”

A lack of enforcement does not mean that Pineville city leaders don’t want you to not comply. Dupree stressed not only the use of masks, but also hand washing, sanitizing, and social distancing.

“What we’re going to do as Pineville and as residents who want to stay safe is we’re going to keep suggesting not only wearing masks, but the hand washing, sanitizing, and social distancing. Masks are only recommended when social distancing isn’t possible,” Dupree said.

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