Mayor LaToya Cantrell has requested that small business owners keep a log of their customers, and people are not happy. The request did not specify how the data was to be collected, and it appears that businesses are on their own to figure out how to make that happen. This triggered a small number of citizens in New Orleans to start a petition, which now boasts 750 signatures, to protest the mayor's request. That many people have signed in a matter of only two days.
The idea is that by keeping track of every person who enters a business and where they live, this will help keep tabs on who has contracted the virus and whom they have been in contact with, thus better tracing the disease's spread. But it's a concept that is invasive and violates privacy rights, and therefore, has not gone over well with businesses.
Erick Sanchez, who lives Uptown, said, "This is the latest in a string of leadership shortcomings from LaToya Cantrell. As residents, we're uniting to say that we've had enough. LaToya should work for her constituents, not the other way around."
A public relations specialist, Sanchez has a background in PR and an undergraduate degree from George Mason University. His work has brought him to New Orleans, where he now works as principle at Quixotic LLC. As the creator of the petition, Sanchez said, "It's clear by the show of support on this petition that Mayor Cantrell's announcement has offered new panic in a city that already joins many others around the country in sharing the anxiety of living in this pandemic reality."
The page of the petition itself expressed concerns regarding the logistical planning of the data collection. The petition further argued that many small businesses would lose customers if they were to willingly put these people's personal data in the government's hands.
However, the question must be asked under what circumstances the request is being made by Cantrell and, remember, that it is just a request.