In A Flash

Baton Rouge the latest Louisiana jurisdiction to require face masks

By: - July 1, 2020 1:49 pm

Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon her plan to sign an executive order mandating face coverings for people inside businesses.

Broome follows New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng who have already issued mask mandates for their jurisdictions, .

“COVID-19 presents a clear and present threat to our parish— our health, safety, economic prosperity and quality of life are all in danger,” Broome wrote. “This issue is not going away. Over the last 11 days, we have seen almost 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 representing 17% of total COVID-19 cases in East Baton Rouge Parish since Mid-March. Today, we reported the largest single day increase of new cases in the last month and a half; the third largest increase since this pandemic came to our community in Mid-March. In these last 11 days, we have seen a 33% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

Broome said the mask-policy is a way to “move forward” and avoid having to go back to a stay-at-home order.  “This policy is rooted in the common sense measures our medical community has agreed on,” she wrote. “Masks do not stop the spread of the virus, but they do reduce the risk of spreading it to those around us.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday that he’s not inclined to issue a statewide order mandating masks because he doesn’t think that’s the best way to win compliance from people who are needed to stop the spread of the virus.

“I will tell you the guidance that we’re receiving coming from the White House Coronavirus Task Force is asking that we consider mandatory mask usage not necessarily statewide but in political subdivisions that meet certain criteria,” the governor said.

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Jarvis DeBerry
Jarvis DeBerry

Jarvis DeBerry, former editor of the Louisiana Illuminator, spent 22 years at The Times-Picayune (and later as a crime and courts reporter, an editorial writer, columnist and deputy opinions editor. He was on the team of Times-Picayune journalists awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service after that team’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly flood that followed. In addition to the shared Pulitzer, DeBerry has won awards from the Louisiana Bar Association for best trial coverage and awards from the New Orleans Press Club, the Louisiana/ Mississippi Associated Press and the National Association of Black Journalists for his columns. A collection of his Times-Picayune columns, “I Feel to Believe” was published by the University of New Orleans Press in September 2020.