The Latest: La. judge orders BBQ restaurant shut over masks

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana health department has persuaded a judge to temporarily shut a barbecue restaurant that refuses to require its workers and customers to obey the statewide mask mandate.

The temporary restraining order issued Friday by state District Judge Brenda Bedsole Ricks prohibits Firehouse BBQ in Livingston Parish from operating, at least until an Aug. 18 hearing.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has called the business’ refusal to require face coverings “extremely reckless and irresponsible.”

Firehouse BBQ posted on its Facebook site that customers and employees “are given the option to wear a mask or not.” The restaurant called the governor’s order “an illegal mandate” and continued operating after the state revoked its food permit.

On Thursday, another judge upheld Edward’s mask order and other restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.



— California tops 10,000 virus deaths, 3rd highest in U.S.

— 7-year-old boy dies of coronavirus in Georgia, youngest in state

— Lebanon’s health ministry reports new daily record 279 cases; adds 70 deaths

— Citing New York’s low coronavirus numbers, Gov. Cuomo is clearing the way for schools to offer at least some days of in-person classes, alongside remote learning.

— Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s positive-then-negative test results for the coronavirus serve as a reminder that no test is definitive.

— Russia boasts its about to become the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, with vaccinations planned as early as October using shots that haven’t completed clinical trials.


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at and



ROME — Cruise ships can resume operating in Italy starting Aug. 15.

The government on Friday night gave the OK in one of its latest moves to boost Italy’s vital tourism industry, which has been pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The approval came despite COVID-19 infections being confirmed in passengers and crew in recently resumed cruises in other European nations. Norway decided to close its ports to cruises ships for two weeks after dozens aboard a cruise liner tested positive for the coronavirus.

With tourism now largely limited to Italians and some other Europeans during the pandemic, many cafes and trattorias risk going out of business.

The government at the Cabinet meeting earmarked some 600 million euros ($720 million) to shore up the restaurant industry and the farm sector.


HONOLULU — Hawaii’s teachers union wants the state’s public schools to offer full remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most schools in the statewide district are planning to offer a combination of in-person and online instruction when the academic year starts Aug. 17. A handful of schools plan to offer full in-person instruction.

The union’s statement comes as Hawaii is seeing an increase in new cases. The state reported 201 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday. The union successfully led a previous effort to delay the start of the school year by two weeks.


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Fans can watch September’s NASCAR race at Darlington in person and have a four-course meal while watching a medieval jousting tournament in South Carolina thanks to exceptions granted to the state’s rule banning gatherings of more than 250 people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce, which reviews the requests, says at least 71 events have been given permission to draw the larger crowds even as COVID-19 cases spread at rates well above the national average.

Those events include some multiday versions of the same event or concerts, a bridal expo in Florence, a sporting tournament, the Showstopper Dance Competition and the South Carolina Farm Bureau’s annual meeting.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster lifted the ban on gatherings of up to 250 people on Aug. 3, but allowed anyone who wanted to have more people to ask the state’s business agency for an exception. The Commerce Department requires any group with a large gathering to require masks and detail other ways they can keep the crowd safe from COVID-19.

The larger crowds come as South Carolina’s COVID-19 outbreak appears to have ended nearly two months of rapid spread. The state health department says the virus hasn’t stopped — there were 1,265 newly diagnosed cases Friday.

South Carolina should top 100,000 people infected with the virus in the next two to three days. Health officials report 1,883 people died and the state’s seven-day average of more than 39 deaths a day is the sixth highest rate in the country.


BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards is questioning why Louisiana must pay a portion of the costs to use the state’s National Guard in coronavirus response work if the federal government is picking up the full tab in some other states.

The Democratic governor sent a letter Friday to President Donald Trump asking the federal government to continue to cover all costs of activating the Louisiana National Guard as it did earlier this year.

Edwards says if Louisiana has to pay a 25% cost share, that would cost the state $2.5 million a month.

Louisiana is using 1,100 members of the National Guard to staff virus testing sites, support food bank operations and distribute protective equipment.

Edwards says at least two other states — Texas and Florida — are still receiving full federal funding to cover the costs of their National Guard activation.

More than 128,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Louisiana, which has 4.6 million residents. The state health department says 4,089 people have died from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.


STURGIS, S.D. — Thousands of bikers poured into the small South Dakota town of Sturgis as the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally rumbles to life despite fears it could lead to a massive coronavirus outbreak.

The bike rally is set to become the largest gathering of people since the pandemic began.

Event organizers are expecting 250,000 people from all over the country to make their way through Sturgis during the 10-day rally.

Local residents — and a few bikers — worried it could create a “super-spreader” event. But many who rode their bikes into town expressed defiance of the uncomfortable regulations that have marked life during a pandemic.


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The nation’s top infectious disease expert says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a COVID-19 vaccine could be developed soon, but acknowledged the chances it would be highly effective are “not great.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a discussion hosted by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, that he hopes a coronavirus vaccine could be 75% effective but one that’s 50% to 60% effective would also be acceptable.

Fauci also urged states to move quickly to respond to even modest upticks of 1% to 2% in virus cases to prevent broader outbreaks.


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Health authorities in Washington on Friday said there are now 11 cases of pediatric inflammatory illness associated with the new coronavirus that have been reported in the state.

Department of Health spokesperson Kristen Maki said the cases occurred between April and July. She said according to the latest information available to state officials most of the children were admitted to intensive care units but have since been discharged home.

The Department of Health said Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children is defined as a patient under the age of 21 with a fever, laboratory evidence of inflammation and severe illness involving more than two organs that requires hospitalization.

Patients must also have a positive COVID-19 test or exposure to a confirmed case in the four weeks before symptoms began, the department said.

Six of the cases in Washington are children 9 or younger and five are in children 10 or older.


FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner Scott Davis says the state’s tribes are “back to square one” after recent coronavirus outbreaks linked to July Fourth gatherings.

The primary counties where the state’s five federally recognized tribes are located are all ranked in the state’s top 20 for virus cases per capita in the last two weeks.

Davis says tribal leaders are taking the virus seriously and that he has warned the pandemic will probably last a long time.

Spirit Lake Nation Chairman Douglas Yankton, whose northeastern North Dakota county leads the state in the number of cases by population in the last two weeks, said the tribe is debating shutting down the casino for a second time and issuing a stay at home order for everybody. But the economic consequences could be devastating.

Some tribes have issued mandatory masks orders and all have ramped up testing. Recent mass COVID-19 screenings at Spirit Lake and at the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation each drew nearly 1,000 people.


PHOENIX — Arizona health officials have reported more than 1,400 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 79 more deaths.

The latest figures released Friday by the Department of Health Services increased the state’s total confirmed cases to more than 185,000 and the reported death toll to 4,081.

According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Arizona dropped in the past two weeks, going from about 2,600 new cases per day on July 23 to about 1,800 new cases per day on Aug. 6.


RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Supreme Court has granted a request from Gov. Ralph Northam to suspend judicial proceedings related to evictions for tenants who can’t pay rent.

The court ruled 4-3 Friday to grant a moratorium on evictions through Sept. 7 as the state grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

That will give the General Assembly and governor time to pass a rent relief package in a special session that will start later this month.


BEIRUT — Lebanon’s health ministry is reporting a new daily record of 279 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total 5,951. An additional 70 deaths were confirmed on Friday.

The surge comes three days after Beirut was hit by a massive chemical explosion that killed 154 people, wounded thousands and damaged large parts of the city. There have been concerns that the crowding at hospitals overwhelmed with the huge casualties from the blast could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

Virus cases in Lebanon have been increasing since early July, when the country’s only international airport reopened and a lockdown was eased.

Firas Abiad, head of the city’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital, urged the international community to send medical aid to Lebanon.

He says there is no doubt “our immunity in the country” is less than before the explosion.


PARIS — France counted more than 2,000 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the biggest single-day total since May.

Health officials say there were 2,288 new cases, bringing the total for the week to 9,330. That’s more than four times the 556 cases recorded on Monday.

The uptick in cases corresponds with France’s summer holidays and seashore vacations. More than 593,600 coronavirus tests were carried out during the week.

The French health agency says circulation of the virus is ‘’especially among young adults,’’ and appealed for respect of safety measures.

More than 30,300 people have died in France, the seventh highest total in the world, with 28 new daily deaths reported.


LONDON — Ireland’s prime minister has ordered regional lockdowns in three counties amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

Micheal Martin says the restrictions will apply in counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly and are in response to a “deep and urgent threat.’’ The restrictions begin at midnight and will last for two weeks.

Movement will be restricted within the counties except for work and other essential journeys. Pubs serving food and restaurants will only provide takeout services.

Entertainment venues such as movie theaters, museums, galleries and bingo halls will close.

Ireland has recorded 1,768 deaths from the coronavirus and 26,372 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.


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