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Firehouse BBQ's owner plans to stay open while judges decide whether to relocate hearing

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DENHAM SPRINGS - Firehouse BBQ in Livingston Parish is open for dinner Tuesday night. It can stay open as a judge decides what to do about the restaurant refusing to enforce the governor's mask mandate.

A decision in court was delayed Tuesday morning.

Judge Brian K. Abels raised an issue of jurisdiction. He wonders if he has the authority to issue an opinion on whether the restaurant has to shut down or not. There are questions surrounding whether the hearing should be held in Baton Rouge, the seat of the state government, since the issue deals with the governor’s emergency act.

“We want to make sure we don’t have conflicting opinions all over the state relating to the authority of the governor to issue these orders,” said Mathew Block with the Governor’s Office.

Judge Abels gave both sides 10 days to get an opinion from an appeals court on whether the case should be heard in Livingston. The attorney representing Firehouse BBQ says he wants the case to remain where it is.

“The fact of the matter is [the state] perused [Eunice Danielle Bunch] here where they have to, this is where she lives, and when they did that they have to submit to this court’s decisions,” said Jeff Wittenbrick, a lawyer representing the restaurant's owner in court.

The owner of Firehouse BBQ plans to remain open until a final decision is made.

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