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State revokes food permit for restaurant that won't mask

Mask
Posted at 10:22 AM, Aug 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-02 11:22:15-04

Louisiana has taken its first serious enforcement action on a restaurant for violating Gov. John Bel Edwards' coronavirus rules regarding masks, revoking the food permit of a defiant Denham Springs BBQ restaurant after its owner refused to require masks for employees or customers, our media partners at The Advocate report.

Health Department spokeswoman Aly Neel told the newspaper that the agency revoked the food permit for Firehouse BBQ after repeated efforts to get the business to comply with mask and social distancing rules in recent days.

LDH sent a sanitarian to inspect the restaurant after the state received multiple complaints. After handing the owner a report -- which included violations of masking for employees and customers, as well as tables not spaced out properly -- the owner refused to make changes, the newspaper reports.

The restaurant posted this on its Facebook page yesterday:

Despite the attempted enforcement of an illegal mandate, we are conducting business as usual. Please show your support by dining in or to go to help us pay for the lawyer that will be fighting for your rights and ours as citizens. Please note that dine in seating is limited due to the 10' between tables social distancing requirement. If you need curbside service, please call in and indicate so and pay by phone and a temporarily masked and gloved employee will bring your meal to your car. We are open 11am-8pm Monday through Saturday, and we take our last order of the day at 7:45pm.

And here's one from July 23 that is pinned to the top of the Facebook page:

We appreciate everyone’s opinions on this topic, yet this was intended only as an announcement to give notice to customers of how we have decided to handle the mask situation in our store, so they may make their decisions for themselves regarding if/how they wish to visit it. It was intended for transparency and disclosure to give the customers a choice only. This is not a place for debate, and those discussions are best handled in other public forums. This repost of the information is simply to continue the transparency and disclosure intended on the first post. The previous post is deleted and all comments will be as well. Thanks.

---------------------------MASKS NOT REQUIRED NOTICE To All Firehouse BBQ Customers:

The use of masks for extended periods of time during shifts by our employees has caused several medical reactions that are negatively impacting their ability to perform their positions. Since rebreathing their own carbon dioxide over a period of time can and has led to symptoms such as migraines and anxiety attacks and other medical conditions, we are no longer requiring our employees to wear the masks. The heat and exertion in a restaurant environment also compounds the issue, and we must take care of our employees and their health.

Therefore, customers and employees are given the option to wear a mask or not. It is not mandated in our store. As we have been for a while, we are open to dining in customers.

***If you have concerns about your health, feel free to call for curbside service and a gloved and temporarily masked employee will deliver the food to your vehicle. Thanks!

To read The Advocate's full story, click here.