Leaders of Baker, Central, Zachary say no mask mandates being issued at this time; attorney weighs in

Mask mandate does not apply to Baker, Central, Zachary; attorney weighs in on enforcement in EBR Parish

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome recently issued a face mask mandate that goes into effect Friday, July 3. However, this mandate does not apply to Baker, Central, or Zachary.

Leaders in those cities say they will not mandate that their residents wear face coverings when out in public.

WAFB spoke with the mayor of Central and an attorney, who has not read Mayor Broome’s executive order yet, but says a number of people have contacted him expressing their concerns about the legality of the mask mandate.

"We're not going to have the mask patrol going around looking for people who are not in compliance, that's not our motivation," said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

The mayor signed the executive order Wednesday requiring all commercial and nonprofit entities in the parish, to implement a no mask no service policy.

Baker, Zachary, and Central don’t have to follow this order. Leaders say they won’t require their residents to put a mask on in public.

"Mandating what private citizens have to wear in private businesses, it's just taking government a little too far," said Central Mayor David Barrow.

Barrow is not issuing a mask mandate. He said he shares the same concerns citizens have about how the order could be enforced.

"How do you go into every place of business, with every citizen in there, and warn these businesses and cite them for what private citizens wanting to wear or not wear a mask," said Barrow.

“The intent is good, but I don’t know how you enforce that (executive order), and have the magnitude of the law and a judge, to decide that, when you don’t have a lot of specificity in there,” said local attorney Thomas Dewey, with Dewey & Braud Law, LLC.

Dewey says he hasn’t read the executive order in its entirety, but people have been coming to him with possible legal concerns.

“If you’re a small business with two people that can social distance, are they required to have a mask? Or is it just when they deal with the public? Restaurants, that’s a big dilemma, what is there. You know you can’t eat with a mask on obviously, so how strict do they enforce that when you’re inside of a restaurant,” said Dewey.

He also needs to know more about how officers will enforce the order.

“Are they (law enforcement) going to, what is there specific purpose, and what businesses do they target? And are they selective about that? That would be an injustice or is it just on a case by case basis,” questioned Dewey.

"So a lot of gray areas?" questioned WAFB's Lester Duhe'.

"My foresight would say yes. I am concerned about the gray areas in it," said Dewey.

Both Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks also announced on Thursday, June 2, that they will not issue a mask mandate in their parishes.

However, they urge people to wear a mask and social distance when possible.

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