BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — 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 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 showed.
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 has since issued additional restrictions, including limiting bars to takeout and delivery, as the state experiences a surge in new virus cases. His administration is cracking down on violators as the state, which once appeared to successfully reduce 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.