Should wearing face masks in public be made mandatory in Baton Rouge?

Should wearing face masks in public become mandatory in Baton Rouge?

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - To wear a mask in public or not? That is the question after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said it’s mandatory to wear face in masks in public there.

Could that order come to the Baton Rouge area?

“I do believe and I want all of our citizens to wear masks,” said East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

The big thing local doctors, along with state and city leaders, have been preaching lately in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask when you go out in public.

“We’ve said it so many times, and I know people are tired of hearing it, but the simple fact is more people need to do it,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

In New Orleans, it’s now mandatory to wear a mask and social distance when out in public.

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Mayor Broome says she has some concerns over bringing a similar policy to the Red Stick.

“First, to do it effectively means that we would have to have law enforcement involved in the process. I would tell you that our citizens, I believe, would feel that our police department needs to be keeping our community safe,” said Broome.

She says many likely believe that keeping the community safe should be their top priority. Broome recognizes having police out enforcing the mandate could be very challenging. But her concerns aren’t just about police enforcing a mandate.

“Many families and workers have experienced layoffs and furloughs, so at this time, to pile on another fine in top of trying to get re-acclimated into some financial stability certainly concerns me,” said Broome.

WAFB’s Lester Duhé spoke with Dr. Alex Billioux with the Louisiana Department of Health recently. He said those cloth or homemade face masks can reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 to others if you are sick.

“Twenty to fifty percent of people with COVID could be asymptomatic and be spreading without realizing it, so it’s about protecting others,” said Dr. Billioux.

But only certain medical masks that are reserved for healthcare workers and first responders can actually help you to not get the virus.

“Those N95 masks, those prevent you from actually getting the virus into your system if you’re wearing them,” said Dr. Billioux.

So what do you think? Should masks be required in public throughout the greater Baton Rouge area and all of Louisiana? Leave a comment here with your opinion.

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