A lawsuit was filed Monday against the mayor of New Orleans and the city’s health department over COVID-19 vaccine mandates that stipulated anyone aged 5 and older have to show proof of vaccination to enter some businesses.
More than 100 plaintiffs joined a complaint (pdf), which was obtained by The Epoch Times, against the city and Mayor LaToya Cantrell. The lawsuit was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.
New Orleans became one of the first cities in the United States to impose a vaccine passport system, doing so in August 2021, requiring people to show proof of vaccination before entering bars, restaurants, music venues, and similar establishments. In early January, the mandate was extended to children aged 5 and older, city officials said.
Other than vaccine passports, the city also has a mask mandate for everyone aged 2 and older.
“The people of New Orleans and our children have endured nearly two years of unprecedented control from our so-called city leaders,” attorney Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue, a partner at the New Orleans-based firm Rodriguez & Arcuri, told Fox News in reference to the complaint.
“What started as a temporary means to protect the community from unknown risks of a virus has turned into a circus of mandates that no longer make sense to any rational person,” she continued. “Enough is enough. People all over our great State who live, work, and worship in New Orleans are united in this effort to take back control of their lives and families.”
The lawsuit accuses the city, Cantrell, and New Orleans Health Director Jennifer Avengno of violating citizens’ privacy rights and denying plaintiffs’ equal protection under the law.
What’s more, the complaint noted that COVID-19 has mutated into a “milder variant,” referring to the Omicron strain, and that “effective treatments have been developed” in the fight against the virus.
Meanwhile, it added, “most people now have immunity and have learned to protect themselves. Yet, paradoxically, Mayor Latoya Cantrell and city officials under her direction have increased restrictions on individuals and businesses.”
“In response to the original virus, Mayor Cantrell issued orders mandating wearing masks, closing businesses, and limiting gatherings,” according to the complaint. “Now, for Omicron, the mildest variant yet, Mayor Cantrell is lowering the vaccine mandate to age five and expanding the mask mandate to everyone over the age of two.”
A growing number of medical researchers have suggested that mask mandates for children in school, namely, should be rescinded. Some European countries have prohibited mask-wearing in class for all children, and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends against mask mandates for children under the age of 6.
When announcing the mandate last year, Cantrell, a Democrat, argued that vaccine passports are the only way to keep businesses in the city open.
“We have to make sure that we keep our businesses open. That is a priority. We have to keep our children in school. This is a priority,” Cantrell told reporters in August 2021, adding that she had “no choice” in the matter. “[The vaccine] is our only way out of this virus.”
Other than New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Chicago also have imposed vaccine passport systems in recent months.
The Epoch Times has contacted the City of New Orleans for comment.