(WKBN) – Agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) cited four establishments overnight after receiving complaints of blatant violations of orders in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
These six establishments are outside of the Valley, but agents are following up with safety checks associated with the COVID-19 directives.
The agents visited the following liquor-permitted establishments and issued citations after witnessing the violations:
- Thursday’s Lounge, Akron, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity and limitation on hours for sales and on-premises consumption. Agents visited the location and observed approximately 100 patrons lacking social distancing, standing and congregating in groups. In addition, agents were able to purchase alcohol at 10:30 p.m. from employees who were not wearing facial coverings.
- Wagner’s Roadhouse Bar, Chillicothe, received an administrative citation for violations of improper conduct – disorderly activities and insanitary conditions. Agents visited the establishment at approximately 10 p.m. and immediately observed a group of several patrons crowded around the main bar, not social distancing, with many standing while consuming alcoholic beverages. On the outdoor patio, agents observed live music with patrons standing while consuming alcoholic beverages and dancing. Agents observed signage posted around the establishment promoting social distancing guidelines, mask usage and floor markers, but none were being followed or enforced by employees. Agents conducted an administrative inspection and found an additional violation of insanitary conditions.
- Colonial Inc., known as Beer Barrel Saloon, Put-in-Bay, received an administrative citation for violations of improper conduct – disorderly activities. Agents visited the Beer Barrel Saloon and observed the premises had a live band with a large dance floor full of patrons dancing in close proximity and pressed up against the stage. Agents observed several patrons walking throughout the crowd and at the bar area not practicing social distancing. Agents did not observe any employees attempting to enforce the social distancing directives.
- Chocolate 7822 LLC., known as Blossom Lounge, Cleveland, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity, limitation on hours for sales, and on-premises consumption hindering an inspection. Agents worked jointly with the Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Division of Fire and Cleveland Department of Public Health to conduct safety compliance checks. At approximately 11:15 p.m., agents and officers observed a large number of vehicles present at the location. As they approached, a staff member was observed outside the front door. The staff member immediately went inside and locked the door. Access was denied for several minutes while agents and officers knocked, announcing their presence. The same staff member eventually opened the front door and denied locking it. Agents and officers observed approximately 20 patrons closely gathered near the door, few of whom were wearing facial coverings and there was no social distance or physical separation. Agents recovered empty, ice cold bottles beer from the trash, indicating they had been sold or delivered well past the 10 p.m. limitation. This establishment was also cited on August 20, for violations of improper conduct – disorderly activities, insanitary conditions and hindering an inspection when similar violations were observed by agents and officers.
These cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners and local health departments following up on complaints to ensure liquor-permitted establishments maintain compliance, so everyone can enjoy a healthy experience,” said OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf. “When egregious violations are observed, enforcement action is taken. We all need to continue to work together by following the precautions put in place to make these establishments safe and compliant with the directives.”
The Ohio Investigative Unit is made up of fully-sworn, plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco, and food stamp fraud laws.
Agents conduct compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act.
Agents also act on complaints of illegal activity on liquor permit premises. In addition to providing the safety checks associated with the COVID-19 directives, OIU agents continue to perform their normal compliance checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act.
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