“As is the case with many government regulated practices (i.e. building permits, etc.), the possession of an ATC alcohol permit is a privilege - not a right. When a business owner submits a permit application, he/she agrees to uphold ALL federal, state and local laws and to be otherwise “suitable” to be trusted with selling/serving a controlled product to the general public within the state. The system is set up this way so as to protect the public from unscrupulous vendors and potentially dangerous products. In fact, state law provides that it is a criminal offense if a citizen engages in the selling/serving of alcohol products without a permit.
The Governor’s authority to address this unprecedented public health challenge through proclamation has been challenged, but ultimately upheld in every case. The ATC, as a regulatory arm of the executive branch, has been charged with enforcing COVID compliance measures at ATC permitted locations as part of the overall state emergency response. By law, permit holders are required to follow ATC rules in order to comply with the terms they accepted when the initial application was made. It may be your constitutional right to disagree and express disagreement, but a citizen cannot decide what laws they will follow and which ones they will not.
In most cases, business owners are working very hard under extraordinary circumstances to do the right thing. As a result, our agency has only pursued suspension and fines in the most egregious of circumstances. Recently however, a small group of business owners have taken a position which directly challenges the authority of the agency. These permit holders have chosen to ignore rules and suspension orders issued by the agency. In lieu of arrest, which is authorized by statute, I have made the decision to issue revocation orders in these cases. If upheld after hearing, an offending business will have its permit revoked, will not have the ability to purchase alcohol from wholesalers (as required by law), and will be subject to local authority discretion as to whether they will be arrested and prosecuted for selling alcohol without a permit. These businesses should take note that a revoked permit will not be reissued. “
Ernest P. Legier, Jr.
Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control