Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine (left) hands out masks to a city resident Thursday morning. (Gazette photo by Nancy Duplechain)
On a humid April morning, Ville Platte mayor Jennifer Vidrine, Thursday, handed out masks to a long line of cars. The mask give-away was supposed to start at 10:00 a.m., but vehicles were already lined around the block by 9:00.
“Thank you, and stay safe,” said Mayor Vidrine to a resident driving away. She already had the next pack of masks held firmly with a pair of tongs for the next driver. Ville Platte currently has a D rating when it comes to citizens practicing safety measures. The mayor said people are still having gatherings and not practicing social distancing or wearing masks. “That’s how it’s being spread. People are asymptomatic. They don’t know they have it. It won’t show for maybe 14 days. They’ve been among other people and don’t know where they’ve been.” Ville Platte does, however, have a good response rating for having a curfew and the businesses cooperating with limiting the number of people in stores.
Each pack handed out by the mayor and city employees contains five masks. One pack was given per vehicle. The masks are breathable and washable; they were donated to the state by the Hanes Corporation and distributed to local municipalities through the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Mayor Vidrine said some other places in the state are giving them to businesses, but she felt it was more important to give them out to the public. She said they are trying to get some thermometers, as well. “This is one of the things that was keeping me up at night, knowing people weren’t wearing masks. Now that we have that, it’ll be a little better. No one can have an excuse about not being able to find a mask or being able to afford one. We’re giving it to them. There’s no reason not to wear them.”
In total, 3,980 packs of masks were distributed Thursday morning. If more masks are given to Ville Platte, Mayor Vidrine said she will have another distribution for the public. As for Thursday’s give-away, Mayor Vidrine said, “Everyone was very orderly and very appreciative.”