Legal expert weighs in on latest local covid mandates

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — From masking up to showing proof of vaccination, local covid guidelines seem to be ever changing. One recent issue involves masks in schools. We spoke to local law expert Cliff Cardone who clarifies if schools can legally turn away students who refuse to wear a mask.

“Of course they can, because once again, the governor has issued the proclamation and make it mandatory that children, I think over the age of two, have to wear masks, just to protect the other people in the school. The teachers, the staff and other students,” said Cardone.

While some parents say enforcing a mask mandate on their child is an infringement on their rights, Cardone says when it comes to public safety, there are exceptions.

“When the governor issues a proclamation or mandate, there’s generally a good public safety rationale behind that to curtail rights that people may have,” said Cardone.

When it comes to businesses mandating vaccines for employees, Cardone says it’s up to the employer.

“Certainly the employer has the right to mandate a vaccination of its employees because we’re an at-will state , so the employer can do basically he or she wishes to do, with respect to safety of its employees and safety of the workplace,” said Cardone.

However, there are exceptions to the rule.

“There are essentially only two objections that an employee can make, and that would be a religious objection where they have a bonafide religious belief that the injection would be against their religious beliefs and secondly, it would be a healthcare risk,” said Cardone.

What about customers showing proof of vaccination to get into New Orleans businesses?

“The employer or the business can prevent people from entering because of the mandates that are imposed on them by the local authorities,” said Cardone.

Cardone says that businesses that don’t follow the rules could lose their licenses, and customers who don’t comply could face fines. He says that as long as local officials are making decisions based on guidance from the CDC, covid rules can and will continue to evolve.

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