LIVINGSTON/DENHAM SPRINGS/ WALKER, La. (BRPROUD)— Livingston Parish no longer has a mask mandate. It was one of the first parishes to make the change following Governor John Bel Edward’s mask update yesterday.
As mask requirements become more relaxed Livingston Parish leaders believe this to be a step in the right direction.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks said, “I agree with the governor and I actually applaud the governor’s decision. we’ve been hoping for a long time that as our number trended down that we would be able to eventually relax that.”
They planned to follow his lead.
Ricks said, “All he really did was say we are not going to enforce it from the state’s standpoint. For local government, our government. We are not going to do that either.”
They believe many people are excited to move forward.
Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry said, “This past weekend we had our Annual Spring Fest. We are thinking we had close to nine- to ten thousand people, so I think people are ready to get out and get a sense of normalcy, again and that was evident last Saturday.”
After a hard year with the pandemic, local business owner Donald Pedigo says he’s glad to be done with the masks.
Owner of Cafe Pedigo’s in Walker, Donald “Ray” Pedigo said, “I feel horrible to tell people to even wear a mask to come in and take it off to eat. We are glad that it’s lifted. It’s taken a lot of fear out of the people who want to come and eat now.”
He hopes this is a fresh start for his business.
“it’s going to help. I really do, because the way it’s been going has been hurting us. So, yeah I believe it’s going to help us,” he said.
Although the governor did ease the mask mandate, when it comes to private businesses and local governments, schools, health care facilities and many state government buildings still require face coverings.
Many local leaders were excited about the progress but say respect is an important part of the recovery process.
Landry said, ‘I would like to ask all of our citizens to please be respectful of other folks. Don’t crowd them, don’t get too close. If you feel like you need a mask, wear a mask. Don’t feel intimidated if you want to, but we are all in this together. “
Their local governments lifted mask requirements as well, the latest includes West Baton Rouge Parish.