‘We can’t afford to go back': Mayor Broome discusses mask mandate with business leaders

Thurs. July 2: Discussion with business leaders about mask mandate

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Business leaders in East Baton Rouge Parish got to ask questions about the new mask mandate imposed by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome during a webinar hosted by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC).

The executive order goes into effect Friday, July 3 and will remain in place for at least one month.

“As we work to reopen our economy, it’s critical for each of us to adhere to mitigation guidelines,” Mayor Broome said. “Everyone should understand the urgency of this situation. We can’t afford to regress to Phase 1 or a stay-at-home order.”

During her opening remarks, Mayor Broome stressed that East Baton Rouge Parish has been identified by the White House as a hot spot.

Mayor Broome, Chief Paul offer more clarification on mask mandate in EBR Parish

“We cannot afford to regress in our progress,” she said. “Baton Rouge cannot sit back and watch the coronavirus pandemic create havoc in our community. "

Many of the questions from those participating in the webinar related to enforcement.

“We are not going to have the mask patrol going around looking for people who are not in compliance. That’s not our goal,” she said. “Trust me, people are going to let us know, and usually it’s only in extreme instances of non-compliance and so they get really concerned about that.”

Several attendees expressed concerns about customers at businesses who might protest wearing a mask.

“We have a no smoking policy in businesses,” she said. “If someone starts smoking in a business, the owner will politely ask them to stop, so this is the same situation. People in your business should know how to have good customer relationships. In many businesses, there are no shirts, no shoes, no service policies, so what do they do in that situation? Same principle.”

Individuals are asked to call the non-emergency phone numbers for the Baton Rouge Police Department, Baton Rouge Fire Department, or East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office to report a business that’s not complying with the mandate.

“Throughout the pandemic, BRPD has been given information about businesses where there has been non-compliance and they have been going to the businesses and politely asking them to do this,” she said. “We are not going to enforce our way out of this.”

For more frequently asked questions related to the mandate, click here.

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