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Caddo Commission delays vote on new mask ordinance, seeks review by committee

Local

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Caddo Parish commissioners have delayed a vote on a proposed mask ordinance that would require businesses in unincorporated areas of the parish with 50 or more occupants to require facial coverings for all.

The commission agreed during a work session meeting Monday to put the ordinance proposed by Dist. 2 Commissioner Lyndon Johnson up for a vote Thursday, but ended up voting 6 to 4 to delay that vote until the ordinance can be reviewed by a committee.

The ordinance cites an increase in risk of infection in Caddo Parish from “moderate” to high” and notes that the governor’s order lifting the statewide mask mandate specifically gives local governments authority to enforce more restrictive measures.

The types of businesses this would cover include restaurants, retail establishments, hotels, grocery stores, gyms, pharmacies, indoor, recreational facilities, and vehicles for hire, among others.

Children under the age of two would be exempt and any child in a licensed daycare facility. Those who are actively exercising while following CDC guidelines for social distancing and those with certain medical conditions are also among those who would be exempt.

If passed as it stands now, businesses would be responsible for coming up with a way to ensure compliance and would be subject to fines of up to $250 for the first violation and $500 for a second. Patrons and individuals who refuse to leave any premises after being asked are subject to trespassing laws, the ordinance notes.

The following commissioners voted to delay and review the ordinance:

  • Dist. 10 Commissioner Mario Chavez
  • Dist. 12 Commissioner Ken Epperson
  • Dist. 2 Commissioner Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Dist. 9 Commissioner John Atkins
  • Dist. 7 Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts
  • Dist. 1 Commissioner Todd Hopkins

The following commissioners voted against delaying and review the ordinance:

  • Dist. 6 Commissioner Lynn Cawthorne
  • Dist. 5 Commissioner Roy Burrell
  • Dist. 8 Commissioner Jim Taliaferro
  • Dist. 11 Commissioner Ted Lazarus

Dist. 3 Commissioner Steve Jackson and Dist. 4 Commissioner John-Paul Young were not in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

Louisiana is experiencing a fourth surge of COVID-19, driven largely by the spread of the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus and lower vaccination rates.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and any other personnel authorized by law would be authorized to enforce the order.

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