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Mandatory Mask Enforcement Guidelines

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

On Saturday July 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards released Proclamation 89-20 which contained 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) at any commercial establishment and government buildings open to the public whether indoor or outdoor with exceptions allowing for social distancing.  

The aspect of the proclamation that has caused the most confusion is enforcement of the mandatory face covering requirement.  The Lafayette Sheriff’s Office has 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.  In general, our approach will be to inform and educate the public.  We believe enforcement action would only be appropriate in the most extreme circumstances and such circumstances would also involve the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, as directed by the governor’s order.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Deputies will become involved when necessary to keep the peace if a customer refuses to leave a place of business after 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 persons entering their premises to 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. The Lafayette Sheriff’s Office will respond to all complaints we receive. After attempts are made to urge responsible compliance by businesses and organizations, (except with exigent circumstances) continued violations will be referred to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for further enforcement action.

The Lafayette 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 those around you.

The complete text of this Proclamation can be viewed at: https://gov.louisiana.gov/assets/Proclamations/2020/89-JBE-2020.pdf