WATCH: Gov. Edwards says Lafayette’s failed mask mandate shows ‘failure of leadership’

Lafayette Parish

LAFAYETTE, La. (Daily Advertiser) — Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said Friday that Lafayette’s failed effort to establish a local mask mandate shows a “basic failure of leadership.”

During an interview with Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty broadcast live on YouTube Friday morning, Edwards called the Lafayette City Council’s rejection of a local mask mandate “unfortunate” and “regrettable” when asked about opposition to his statewide mask mandate, which has been in effect since last July.

“Let me be clear, the mask mandate is enforced and in effect all across the state of Louisiana,” Edwards said.

“The Lafayette City Council doesn’t have the authority to opt-out of that mandate. They took an action saying that they weren’t going to enforce it at their level, and that’s regrettable,” he added.

“It’s unfortunate, because that region of our state, at numerous times throughout the pandemic, has actually had some of the highest positivity rates and case growth and hospitalizations.”

Lafayette’s City Council rejected a local ordinance proposed by Councilman Glenn Lazard in early February that would have implemented a mask mandate at public places to help slow the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of 236 people in Lafayette Parish since last March.

Thousands of residents contacted the council’s office in advance of the council’s emergency vote on the measure during a Feb. 9 meeting, with roughly two-thirds of residents opposed to the mandate.

The council voted 3-2 not to enact the local mandate, which does not affect the statewide public mask mandate issued by Edwards last summer.

Councilwoman Nanette Cook, who was an early sponsor of the ordinance, publicly withdrew her support for the measure the week before the vote after receiving overwhelming backlash to the idea, including one opponent who called her a Nazi for her early support of the mandate.

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