Denham Springs restaurant defies LDH orders to close

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DENHAM SPRINGS – A restaurant in Denham Springs has caught the attention of the Louisiana Department of Health.Firehouse BBQ received a notice from LDH to shut down operations on Friday after the department received numerous complaints about the restaurant not following Governor John Bel Edwards’ mask mandate.

LDH began to receive complaints about the restaurant after visitors noticed a sign on their window saying:

Masks NOTICE NOT REQUIRED To all Firehouse BBQ customers:

The use of masks for long periods of time during work shifts by our employees has caused several medical reactions that negatively impact their ability to perform their duties. Since rebreathing their own carbon dioxide over a period of time can and has led to symptoms such as migraines, anxiety attacks and other medical conditions. We no longer require employees to wear a mask. The heat and effort in a restaurant environment also aggravates the problem and must take care of our employees and their health.

Therefore, customers and employees have the option of wearing a mask or not. It is not mandatory in our store. If you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to call the breakdown service and a gloved and masked employee will deliver the food to your vehicle.

According to Aly Neel of LDH, LDH took the time to try and explain to the owner why the mandate and restrictions were in place and gave them a chance to comply. Neel says if Firehouse BBQ doesn’t shut down, they will be brought to justice.

This is the first time LDH has taken direct action against a restaurant regarding COVID-19 restrictions.Firehouse BBQ responded to the notice with a Facebook post on Saturday stating:

Despite the attempted execution of an illegal warrant, we conduct our business as usual. Please show your support by having dinner in or take out to help us pay the lawyer who will fight for your rights and ours as citizens. Please note that dinner seating is limited due to the 10 foot social distance requirement between tables. If you require curbside service, please call and indicate and pay by phone and a temporarily masked and gloved employee will bring your meal to your car. We are open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and we take our last agenda at 7:45 p.m.

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