Cooper said he respects the decisions of his fellow parish leaders who have made it a requirement for residents of their parishes to wear masks, but said he will stop short of issuing that order.
Read Cooper’s full statement below:
“Medical experts agree that when you wear a mask, you protect others by preventing the spread of your own germs. Employees of businesses and restaurants who serve the public are required to wear masks through the current proclamations issued through our State, and Parish Government.
“In the last few days, several parish and municipal leaders in southeast Louisiana have issued mandatory mask orders for the general public in the ongoing effort to protect the public from the COVID-19 pandemic. While I respect their decisions, I have chosen not to issue such an order here in St. Tammany at this time. I am, however, going to continue to stress to every citizen, the importance of wearing a mask in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I’m going to continue to ask that citizens, particularly those who have contact with large numbers of people wear masks. I am going to ask that patrons of our local businesses wear masks.
“Unless the numbers warrant otherwise, I will continue to support the right of businesses to open with limited capacity, and I will support the free movement of our citizens within the guidelines of Phase 2. I continue to ask each of us to recognize the vital importance of taking personal responsibility at this crucial time to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I want our businesses to remain open and eventually reopen fully. I want us to continue to move forward. I also want to keep St. Tammany healthy. To do all of these things, we need each and every citizen of St. Tammany to do their part. We need each and every citizen to make the commitment to be a part of the solution as we slow the spread of this virus.
“I continue to gather expert medical opinions and data to make decisions on what is best for St. Tammany. I ask each and every citizen to continue to maintain physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, wash their hands frequently and please — wear a mask. I trust each and every citizen of St. Tammany will do their part to keep our community and our economy healthy.”St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper