St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
August 3, 2021
Mask Wearing Mandate
As most of you are aware, yesterday, the Governor issued Executive Order 137 JBE 2021, which reinstituted a statewide mandate that masks must be worn. I have personally read this Order and hereby offer the following outline of its dictates.
The Executive Order mandates that masks be worn by all individuals in any place other than a private residence. This order applies to both those who are vaccinated and those who are not. Also, the mandate does not require the wearing of masks while outdoors, a feature which has not been mentioned in some news media coverage. The mask wearing requirement applies to persons five (5) years of age or older; however, if a child is under the age of five (5) years and is enrolled in a kindergarten program, then the child must wear a mask. Nonetheless, it is recommended that those between two (2) and five (5) years of age also wear masks.
The exceptions to this mandate are defined in Section 3 (A) of the Executive Order are as follows:
- Any individual who will not come into contact with any other individual (outside their immediate household member) or who will be able to maintain social distancing of six feet apart from any other person;
- Any child under the age of five (5) years not enrolled in a kindergarten program.
- Anyone with a medical condition that prevents the wearing of a mask;
- Those who are consuming food or drink;
- One trying to communicate with a person or persons who suffers from a communication disorder;
- A person speaking to an audience;
- Anyone who removes a mask for identification purposes; or
- Any athlete participating in organized athletic activities.
Any business or organization may rely upon the representation(s) of a customer, patron, or employee regarding whether any exception is applicable.
In view of the alarming rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, the continued rise in COVID-19 cases, and the virulence and transmissible capability of the Delta variant, this Executive Order should come as no surprise. Indeed, on a per capita basis, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Louisiana is the highest in the United States. The percent positivity rate in St. Martin Parish alone is 20.5%, the second highest in the State. Today, hospitalizations will be greater than at any time since the pandemic began and medical services for other maladies are having to be curtailed as hospital staffs are perilously stretched.
I am hopeful that the public will adhere to this mandate which expires on September 1, 2021. Moreover, it seems that diligence compliance will allow our business community to operate without any limitations.
Again, this mandate DOES NOT APPLY TO:
- Outdoor events.
- Indoor gatherings where social distancing can be practiced.
- Children under the age of five (5) years if not in kindergarten.
- A person consuming food or drinks.
- One who has a medical condition which prevents the wearing of a mask.