COVID-19

Link to theadvocate.com As expected, Lafayette mask mandate fails

A second effort at passing a local mask mandate failed on a 3-2 vote during a Tuesday emergency meeting of the Lafayette City Council. Losing co-sponsor Nanette Cook ahead of the meeting, the bill was dead on arrival and would have needed four “yes” votes to succeed and overcome a likely veto from Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

More than 3,000 calls flooded the council office, with two-thirds recording opposition. Misinformation about masking and the ordinance itself circulated wildly in the weeks since the effort was announced, though a draft of the ordinance didn’t materialize publicly until Monday.

Councilman Glenn Lazard pressed on despite the foregone failure, emphasizing that the mandate was necessary to force the administration’s hand into enforcement. Late last year, Guillory stood down local efforts to support the state’s mask mandate, and the state’s enforcement is itself virtually nonexistent.

News + Notes

UPDATE: LCG passes $7 million rent assistance plan

December’s booster shot of federal stimulus will send $7 million in rent and utility assistance to Lafayette Parish, a figure that dwarfs previous local allocations but that advocates say still falls short of projected need. LCG is working through how to get the money out quickly.

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Link to theadvocate.com Lafayette mask mandate likely dead on arrival 

Would be co-sponsor Nanette Cook formally withdrew her support for an ordinance imposing a local mask mandate Tuesday. Unable to see a practical means of enforcement, she also cited mixed messages from unidentified “medical professionals” among her reasons for backing out. 

Some 2,000 calls flooded the council office for and against the proposed ordinance, which The Current first reported last week. Misinformation about the what the local law would do has swarmed social media. 

Glenn Lazard, who is in and out of treatment for leukemia, is pressing forward. But with Cook’s support, the ordinance won’t have a veto-proof voting block to carry it. 

“I still have plans to go forward with it,” City Council member Glenn Lazard told the Advocate. “It’s the right thing to do and I’m still hopeful I will receive the necessary support to pass it

News + Notes

Lafayette City Council members make second push for local mask mandate

Still failing to see enforcement of the governor’s mask mandate, City Council members are taking a second shot at passing a local one in an emergency meeting. The same council members previously backed off an effort to push forward on an emergency mask ordinance in July after Mayor-President Josh Guillory assured them the state order would be sufficiently enforced.

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Link to lailluminator.com Is there equitable access to vaccines? We don’t know. 

The pandemic surfaced deep disparities in access to healthcare, with early data showing a disproportionate impact on the Black community. So far, Louisiana isn’t collecting sufficient data to know whether those disparities are playing out in who gets vaccinated. It’s not just about the logistics of where doses go, either. Health officials speculate that generational distrust of government health programs among Black Americans, seeded by medical experiments conducted by public health agencies, may ward them away. Health equity has become a point of emphasis in public policy — both Louisiana and Lafayette Consolidated Government, for instance, created health equity task forces.

But right now, we don’t have a clear picture of the issue with respect to the vaccine program.