Petition asks for mandate requiring masks at all Louisiana essential businesses


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport community leader is taking action to ensure essential workers are safe during this pandemic.

“A person with the virus may have been in an environment long before we get there and they’re no longer there but COVID-19 still is,” said Velma Kirksey-Tarver. “Especially if it’s an area where the air is stagnant. That’s why it’s so important first and foremost to stay home if we can. Nothing, not even wearing a mask, compares to staying at home.”

But for those who must leave home and go to work, Tarver wants a mandate requiring all of them along and those entering essential businesses to wear masks. That’s why she started a petition on

“Several communities that have been impacted by the virus have implemented precautionary procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and I am petitioning us to do the same. Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, transit bus services, banks and gas stations must continue their functions just as we must continue to be their consumers to survive,” Tarver said.

“However, one should not be placed at risk or question maintaining a reasonable portion of health and strength simply to purchase necessities for their household or handle urgent business matters. Likewise, workers should be equally protected. We must be proactive, and not wait for our rates of exposures, positives, and fatalities to multiply again to implement a mandate for essential workers and those entering essential stores to wear masks.”

As of Monday afternoon, more than 700 people have already signed the petition. It has been received by Governor John Bel Edwards and Tarver said she had the opportunity to speak to him about the petition Monday.

Tarver said she just wants supporters of the mandate to sign the petition and no donations are being requested.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.