(COLUMBUS) – Agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), working with assistance from the Cleveland Department of Public Health and Cleveland Division of Police, cited three Cleveland establishments overnight after receiving complaints of blatant violations of Ohio Department of Health orders in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Agents visited the following liquor-permitted establishments and issued citations after witnessing the violations:
Jawbone Partners LLC, known as Dante’s Inferno and Backyard Bocce, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Numerous patrons were observed by officers and agents standing and congregating with no social distancing measures in place. In addition, patrons were engaged in several restricted activities including arcade games and bocce ball.
FWD Flats LLC, known as Forward, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Officers and agents observed several hundred people on the premises and egregious violations of Ohio Department of Health orders. Patrons were standing, congregated, and dancing on a dance floor, the bar, and on tables. No social distancing measures were in place. This location was not engaged in food service of any type and was solely operating as a dance club.
Down River Specialties Incorporated, known as Club Paradise, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Officers entered this adult entertainment establishment and observed over 150 people in a very confined space and egregious violations of Ohio Department of Health orders. No social distancing measures of any type were in place and patrons, dancers, and other staff were having repeated, direct contact.
The cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
Although many bars and restaurants were found in compliance with health orders, local authorities did issue a number of warnings throughout the evening. OIU agents will be conducing compliance checks again Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
“The goal of these compliance checks is to safeguard all patrons by ensuring that liquor-permitted establishments maintain compliancy, so they can continue to serve their customers and everyone can enjoy a safe and healthy experience,” said OIU Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot. “Educating liquor-permit holders about the order has been the priority of the Ohio Investigative Unit, however when egregious violations are observed, enforcement action is taken. We’re asking patrons to help out their favorite bars and restaurants 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 compliancy checks to ensure the liquor permit premises are complying with the Ohio Liquor Control Act.