In response to rising cases of the novel coronavirus in East Baton Rouge Parish, Mayor Sharon Weston Broome announced Wednesday afternoon that she intends to sign an executive order mandating that face coverings be worn inside businesses within the parish.
The order came an hour after the parish reported 227 new cases of COVID-19, representing the largest single-day increase of new cases in the past month and a half and the third-largest single-day increase since the pandemic began in mid-March. The parish has reported almost 1,000 new cases over the past 11 days, representing 17% of the total COVID-19 cases in the parish since March.
Hospitalizations are also rising, Broome says, citing a 33% increase in coronavirus hospitalizations over the past 11 days.
Police will be responsible for enforcing the order and issuing misdemeanor summonses to those not adhering to the mandate. The judge will determine the fine.
The mandate will last until Broome “sees some changes in the data and numbers.” If there isn’t improvement, she says that “closing bars is not off the table.”
“In times like this, leadership is not often embraced with popularity,” she says. “Save our economy, save our businesses who can’t weather another closure and save a life with me today—wear a face covering.”
This story originally appeared in Daily Report‘s July 1 edition. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.