(KTVE/KARD) The City of West Monroe has put out a mask advisory for residents and city employees that are not vaccinated.

“And that is for the safety of not only our employees but public safety so that, you know, we have firemen that can go out and respond to a fire; we have policemen that can go out and respond. We don’t want everyone to get sick and then us not be able to provide essential services to the public” says Mayor Staci Mitchell, City of West Monroe.

She says as far as wearing a mask in businesses, the choice is up to the owners.

She also says business owners will continue to follow the Governor’s current mask mandates; and while the city has the authority to issue their own, she says she chooses not to impose a mask mandate at this time.

Local churches are starting to see similar policies.

“The Governor is urging us to return to mask indoor because the pandemic is kind of ramping back up in our area” says Reverend Whit Stodghill.

He serves multiple churches in the twin cities–including St. Alban’s and St. Patrick’s Episcopal churches. He says they will be requiring masks at all services at every church, no matter your vaccination status.

“We do this because of the least vulnerable in our population. Most of our folks are vaccinated but there are some who are not and there are children that can’t be. And as religious folks, we’re called to protect the weak and the innocent” Stoghill says.

The churches will begin the requirements this coming Sunday, while West Monroe already has their policy in place.