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Ouachita Parish official weighs the idea of a mask mandate in the parish

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 11:32 PM CDT
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Effective July 1, Jefferson Parish residents are required to wear masks in public areas.

While their police jury president decided to make it mandatory, Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley said that won’t be the case here at home.

Smiley said the case count in Ouachita Parish isn’t remotely close to that of Jefferson Parish, but he would consider a mandate if health officials saw a spike in cases.

“I think that we would then have to look at what other measures we would possibly need to take to slow down the spread,” he said.

As of Wednesday, July 1, the Louisiana Department of Health is reporting 2,474 cumulative cases in Ouachita Parish and 9,637 cumulative cases in Jefferson Parish.

Some small businesses in West Monroe’s Antique Alley displayed signs saying they were requiring masks. Some owners said they are requiring them in an effort to protect them and their loved ones with weaker immune systems.

Spice and Tea Exchange owner Karen Laban said she is not requiring customers to wear masks; however, staff members are wearing masks at all times.

She said they are reminding people to practice social distancing guidelines and providing curbside service and home deliveries.

While they’re not requiring masks, Laban said she’s had customers still wear them and even ask if they’re allowed to enter.

I’m wearing the mask for myself, so if I were to have anything I wouldn’t pass it on to you and I’m appreciative when other people have their mask on,” she said.

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