Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards Blasts Lafayette Mayor, City Council Over Vote To Reject Mask Mandate
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards expressed his disappointment in how Lafayette leadership is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to investigative reporter Sam Karlin with The Advocate, Governor Edwards blasted a recent vote from the Lafayette city council to reject a mask mandate calling it a "basic failure of leadership" during a Zoom interview with The Washington Post earlier today.
The Governor's comments about Lafayette can be heard at the 12:30 mark.
While he described their vote as "regrettable" and "unfortunate," Edwards also stated that the Lafayette City Council doesn't have the authority to "opt-out" of the current mask mandate in Louisiana. He also informed the Washington Post that the Lafayette region has held some of Louisiana's highest positivity rates throughout the pandemic along with case growth and hospitalizations that have threatened capacity more often than anywhere else in the state.
Governor Edwards also pointed out that there was a "partisan edge" to the Lafayette City Council vote that he doesn't "quite understand" given the fact that the guidance on masks has come directly from both the Trump and Biden administrations in addition to Louisiana’s own health experts.
The partisan edge he is describing is likely due to the fact that voting on the Lafayette mask mandate fell along party lines. The three Republicans on the Lafayette City Council include Chairperson Liz Hebert, Andy Naquin, and Nanette Cook who all voted to reject the mandate. The two Democrats on the City Council are Pat Lewis and Glenn Lazard who both voted in favor of a mask mandate.
Lazard and Lewis were also the only two council members to even discuss the proposal, and during that discussion, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory confirmed to Lazard that he would not use local resources to enforce the current statewide mask mandate that was already put in place by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards.
The governor reiterated that masks are still "the most effective tool that we have to reduce the spread" and "save lives" and that his mandate is still in effect and is still being enforced at a state level—likely for the next few months.
It is important to note that while Edwards says the mandate is in effect and being enforced statewide, a report from CBS This Morning lead national correspondent David Begnaud revealed that of the nearly 3700 complaints received by the Louisiana State Fire Marshal at the time his story was published, there has been "zero" action taken by the department.
You can watch Governor Edwards's full Washington Post Zoom interview here via Periscope.