Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its publication to correct an error. Mid City Beer Garden received no violations or citations from the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Its name has been removed from our story. 225 apologizes for this error. The article has also been updated to clarify the location of Firehouse BBQ. While the restaurant does have a Denham Springs ZIP code and address, it is located in the Watson area.
Nearly 700 restaurants, bars and businesses in Louisiana were cited in July for violating the governor’s coronavirus restrictions, according to records from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
The businesses, which include 21 in Baton Rouge, failed inspections for violations such as lack of face mask-wearing, tables being too close together, large group gatherings, exceeded capacities and self-serve buffet dining, the records obtained by the Lafayette Daily Advertiser show.
Some of those with violations include Capital City restaurants and bars Lit Pizza, China 1, Triplet’s Blue Store and Ivar’s Sports Bar & Grill. Nearby places such as Pelican Pub in Gonzales and Firehouse BBQ in Denham Springs were also cited.
In May, Louisiana businesses were ordered to comply with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ mandates as a condition of reopening, including limiting capacity, spacing tables to maintain social distance and requiring face coverings for employees and customers.
Edwards’ administration is cracking down on violators as the state, which once appeared to have successfully reduced the virus’s spread, now has among the nation’s highest per capita infection rates.
Most noncompliant businesses receive two warnings before more serious action is taken, State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said at a news conference last month.
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has already suspended the operating licenses of four businesses that were found to have repeatedly violated the restrictions, officials announced last week. Another 14 businesses have failed two inspections, according to records from the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Firehouse BBQ in Livingston Parish became the first restaurant in the state to have its food permit revoked. It was also ordered to close for violating the face mask and social distancing requirements. But it has since made headlines as its owner refuses to shut down, calling it an “illegal mandate.”
In a Facebook post Monday, Aug. 4, Firehouse BBQ said “We have had an OVERWHELMING outpouring of support from many in and outside our area, and we are truly touched! Saturday and today we had record sales from supporters wiping out our food each day with calls of encouragement from across the US (Utah, Alaska, etc.) and donations towards our legal fees.”
Much of this story originally appeared in Daily Report‘s Monday, Aug. 4, edition. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.