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St. John Parish cancels summer sports & camps: Cancellations refer to parish-sponsored recreation, not private facilities

LAPLACE — All spring and summer sports as well as summer camps sponsored by the St. John the Baptist Parish Parks and Recreation Department have been cancelled, Parish President Jaclyn Hotard announced during a council meeting this past Tuesday.

Hotard, in her president’s report, said the activities were cancelled “in the interest of public safety” as well as the uncertainty of Louisiana as it emerges from Phase One of the state’s reopening strategy in June.

Hotard said the parish will begin processing refunds to those who have already paid for a spring or summer sports program or summer camp. She emphasized the cancellation only refers to parish camps and recreational activities, and not private facilities.

“We know we will not be able to operate these types of activities safely and must wait until we are able to do,” Hotard said.

The parish president also recommended business owners read Edwards’ proclamation that outlines the details of the Phase One reopening , which went into effect May 15. The owners will be able to determine their business category and if indeed they are eligible to reopen. A copy of the proclamation will be posted on the parish’s website.

Additionally, the parish is sending a resource guide to all businesses to assist them in understanding what they should be doing in terms of masks, PPEs, sanitizing and recommendations relating to illness.

Hotard said the parish intends to provide a one page flyer on “bright yellow paper” to be placed in the window of each business recommending customers put masks on before entering the building.

“We are asking all businesses and the public to come together and wear facemasks,” Hotard said. “Your facemask is protecting other people.”

Parish officials will be checking and calling businesses to ensure they are adhering to the practices.

Public safety was also a point of emphasis when the council adopted a resolution supporting Edwards’ proclamation extending Louisiana’s declared State of Emergency for COVID-19.

Council chairman Lennix Madere, a co-sponsor of the resolution, commended Edwards for trying to protect state residents from the coronavirus.

“I strongly recommend to individuals going inside stores to wear a mask. Not only are you protecting yourself, but you are also protecting other individuals,” he said.

Council member Tammy Houston said she has been concerned at the amount of people into stores without a mask. Houston, Madere’s co-sponsor on the resolution, reiterated the virus is deadly and “we are not out of the woods by any means.”

She said the council can pass “resolution after resolution,” but ultimately the responsibility lies with each individual.

“Maybe you don’t want to protect yourself, (but) protect your children, parents, grandparents. Protect those around you, your loved ones,” she stressed. “We don’t want to inconvenience you, but we are asking you to help us save lives.”

The council also amended its Small and Emerging Business Development Program Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Louisiana Economic Development for the development of small and emerging businesses.

Economic Development Director Stanley Bienemy said the CEA funds entrepreneurial training to small owners through the Business Training Center.

– Submitted by Richard Meek, contributing writer