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July 14, 2020

Sheriff Edwards on Governor Edwards "Mandatory Masking"

Enforcement of the Governor's latest proclamation has grown as an issue and has been hotly debated.
Will business owners or patrons be issued citations or be arrested for failing to wear a mask? Today (July 14, 2020), Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel H. Edwards issued a message on the Governor's latest proclamation. His message clears up the confusion. 

"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.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies will only become involved if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after being 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 Marshal, and all complaints should be directed to those agencies. Tangipahoa 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."

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