La. addresses ‘look the other way’ mask policies

Caddo commissioners are considering whether to mandate the use of face masks or some other form...
Caddo commissioners are considering whether to mandate the use of face masks or some other form of face covering throughout the parish. They also may implement a COVID-19 threat level system.(Source: KSLA News 12)
Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 4:06 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A notice posted on the Facebook page of an Ascension Parish tanning salon tells customers they can enter the business without a mask and no questions will be asked.

Planet Beach Gonzales Facebook post
Planet Beach Gonzales Facebook post(Facebook)

A Livingston Parish restaurant posted a similar notice about their business.

Sarita’s Grill in Denham Springs Facebook post
Sarita’s Grill in Denham Springs Facebook post(Facebook)

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office (LSFMO) and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) issued a joint statement Wednesday, July 15 warning those business owners and others that their “look the other way” approach is not in-line with the state mandate.

The statement, seen below, reiterated that everyone entering a business in Louisiana should be wearing a mask unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so. The State Fire Marshal’s Office said it would specifically visit the tanning salon, Planet Beach in Gonzales, to explain the mandate.

Here is the full statement from LSFMO and LDH:

Commercial businesses are not a HIPAA-covered entity. Even if they were, it is impossible to violate HIPAA by merely asking an individual to voluntarily disclose their own protected health information.

The Fourth Amendment limits the actions of the government, not of private individuals or entities. Asking an individual about their medical condition is not a search or seizure. If an individual wants to enter the store, they must wear a mask. The Governor made it clear that if individuals allege a medical condition, there would be no further inquiry. 

Individuals who have respiratory conditions that make it difficult to wear a mask are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and should still stay at home unless they are completing essential tasks, such as doctor visits or going to purchase medications, food or other necessary items.

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