Temporary Restraining Order served to Firehouse BBQ Monday

Owner of Firehouse BBQ speaks out after restaurant ordered to close for violating mask mandate

LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office has served a temporary restraining order against a Livingston Parish business that has refused to comply with the governor’s COVID-19 mask mandate.

As of 2:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10, the restaurant was still open.

Sheriff Jason Ard issued a statement Monday afternoon in which he appears to be trying his best to distance himself from the situation involving the Firehouse BBQ in Watson.

”My legal duty as sheriff requires that I serve all orders and processes directed to me,” Sheriff Ard said.

The temporary restraining order (TRO), which was initiated by the governor’s office, was delivered to an attorney for the owner of the restaurant.

”The sheriff is advised by legal counsel that the service of the petition and order fulfills his legal obligations as executive officer of the court,” a sheriff’s department spokesperson said. “Any additional enforcement measures, as stated in the court order, may be sought by the State Health Officer as the plaintiff in the lawsuit or undertaken as the enforcing authority of the Emergency Proclamation.”

PREVIOUS STORY>>> Temporary restraining order issued against Livingston Parish BBQ restaurant for not following mask mandate

“The suit was filed Friday afternoon, August 7, with the office of the Clerk of Court,” Ard said. “The order for the temporary restraining order was signed late Friday afternoon and the clerk processed the citation and notice for service for delivery to my office today.”

A hearing on the temporary restraining order has been set for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 18 before Judge Brian Abels.

Firehouse BBQ is being represented by Jeff Wittenbrink, the same lawyer who represents the pastor of a church in Central who also defied the governor’s orders. Wittenbrink was hospitalized back in April after contracting coronavirus.

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