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St. James bar owners ready to open up for business

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The Louisiana Department of Health says bars in St. James Parish cannot open just yet, contradicting a letter sent by the state's Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control Friday.

An LDH spokesperson said the parish has not yet hit the minimum period of declining coronavirus cases that would make it eligible to allow bars back open. According to state restrictions, a parish must have two sustained two-week periods of coronavirus positivity under five percent in order to opt in to reopening bars. 

Despite the ATC telling St. James bars were cleared to reopen Friday, the Department of Health responded saying that was not the case. Data published on the state's coronavirus dashboard shows the parish just missed the criteria to reopen bars.

The ATC told WBRZ it relies on LDH to make such determinations, so it's unclear what caused the discrepancy. Both agencies are now on the same page, state officials said Friday evening.

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