Philippe Laurent, the mayor (UDI) of Sceaux, in the Hauts-de-Seine, is not fooling. For the past two days, he has been assaulted by the media for taking an order, which came into force on Wednesday April 8, forcing residents of his commune over 10 years old to wear “Nasal and oral protection” when traveling in public space, under penalty of a fine of 38 euros.
Thursday morning, he had to defend his decision before the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise after the League of Human Rights seized the judge of summary proceedings, considering that an order of this nature was not justified by “No special circumstances” and that, moreover, it was not within the competence of the mayor. “No special circumstances?, protested the elected official of this posh commune of the Parisian suburbs. It’s very simple, at home, everyone does not care, barrier gestures and social distances. The last weekend, it felt like a spring weekend like the others. “
The mayor of Sceaux is not the only one to have taken this step. Patrick Marengo, mayor (Les Républicains, LR) of Royan, in Charente-Maritime, also considered it urgent to prescribe for his citizens the wearing of face protection during their outings, prescription accompanied by the same fine of 38 euros in case of non-compliance. The order was to take effect Thursday, April 9, but the mayor had to lower the flag. The prefect of Charente-Maritime, Nicolas Basselier, told him that he was exceeding his police powers.
A question of “territorial equality”
Thursday morning, the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, announced meanwhile, during a hearing before the parliamentary mission on the impact, management and consequences of the epidemic due to the coronavirus, to have asked the prefects of “Speaking with these mayors so that they withdraw their by-laws during the entire period of confinement”. These orders, he added, are not “Not consistent with the requirement for containment because it may suggest that you can get out if you have a mask.” It’s also a matter of“Territorial equality”, not all municipalities having the means to equip their entire population.
Until now, the distribution of masks has been primarily a priority for personnel in the exposed sectors and for vulnerable people
This question of wearing a mask, since the Academy of Medicine and the government seem to have changed their doctrine, raises many debates within local authorities. Many of them have placed orders, sometimes in large numbers, to be able to equip the entire population of their area, if necessary, and if possible by calling on local companies to produce them. But, until now, the distribution of masks has been primarily a priority for personnel in the exposed sectors and for vulnerable people. It is not possible to get it everywhere and freely.