Alcohol and Tobacco Control watch for bars and restaurants violating COVID-19 safety guidelines during New Year’s Eve

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The major concern heading into the New Year is the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Law enforcement officials are issuing strong reminders that the rules exist even during celebrations.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office continues to work with local law enforcement and The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to ensure the governor’s COVID-19 safety guidelines are being followed.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office Public Affairs Director, Ashley Rodrigue says business owners are expected to act responsibly as well as customers.

“If you love that business, love the people who run it, love the people that you see there and the opportunity that business provides you and able to see other people in a safe environment; then do what’s best for them and do the compliance measures they’re needing to follow,” Rodrigue stated.

Officials say crowded establishments will not be tolerated and that goes for New Year’s Eve.

The state fire marshal has the power of enforcement but would rather act as an information resource before action needs to be taken.

“We can take complaints, we do respond to those complaints and we go to businesses to see if those complaints are valid; and whether they are or not we make sure the education portion is there. Most times we found that businesses were just unaware or unclear,” Rodrigue explained.


The Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, Ernest Legier says an alcohol permit is a privilege and not a right.

“When you were selected to receive an alcohol permit you agreed to abide by all federal, state and local laws and rules,” Legier said.

The ATC understands businesses are hurting for income but as a regulatory authority the agency has the job of ensuring compliance is in place.

“If you decide for whatever reason, whatever your politics or personal beliefs are, that you don’t agree with the governor or you don’t agree with the agency certainly that’s your right. What is our responsibility as the regulatory authority is to ensure that the rules are followed,” Legier added.

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