Browning

The "Tarpon Rodeo party" at Sand Dollar Marina may have been the last straw, but State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said the Grand Isle-based business had been out of compliance multiple times in recent weeks, which led to the suspension of the business's liquor license.

Browning spoke at Governor John Bel Edwards' press conference today and elaborated on the suspension of alcohol licenses of four Louisiana businesses, including the Sand Dollar.

The situation on Grand Isle got a lot of attention in recent days on social media after a large concert was held on the island, and the business allegedly served alcohol to customers at the concert, going against the state's restrictions on bars put in place two weeks ago.

Browning said he and his team respond to businesses when complaints are made, and that all four of the businesses to have their licenses suspended had been in violation multiple times in recent weeks.

"We don't issue penalties on a first-time basis," Browning said. "It's more of a three strikes and you're out thing."

Browning said he and his team travel to businesses across Louisiana on a day-to-day basis randomly, but they also directly respond to calls from concerned customers or business owners who report violations taking place.

Browning said in the first few days of the mask mandate and tightened restrictions, there were lots of calls for non-compliance, but now, there is "greater cooperation" from people - both in terms of masking and also in terms of business owners operating in accordance with the new restrictions in place.

Gov. Edwards said he understands the frustrations of both business owners and customers, but said the best way to make the restrictions temporary is to cooperate now, eliminate the virus, and allow for everything to fully re-open.

"There's nothing easy or painless about making a decision that puts a restriction on any business," Edwards said.

The other businesses to lose their licenses were Frosty Factory in Lake Charles, Pelican Pub in Gonzales and Wo-de's Chili Spot in Harvey.

All of the businesses will be subject to a hearing in early-August, per Browning and Edwards.

If found in non-compliance, the businesses will lose their license for 30 days. 

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