CLEVELAND – Agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) cited four Cleveland area establishments overnight after receiving complaints of blatant violations of orders in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Agents visited the following liquor-permitted establishments and issued citations after witnessing the violations:
DLP Hospitality Group LLC, known as Floods Restaurant, Warrensville Heights, received two administrative citations for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Agents visited the premises with Officers of the Warrensville Heights Police Department (WHPD) for the purpose of issuing a violation from a previous date. On July 24, WHPD found the premises operating at more than double the permitted capacity and observed egregious social distancing violations. Last night, upon entering the premises to issue the citation for the previous violation, agents and officers discovered egregious violations occurring. Approximately 75 Patrons were congregated, standing, seated in close groups or at the bar and moving freely about the premises while consuming alcoholic beverages. Music was playing with additional patrons dancing and consuming alcoholic beverages. Two violation notices were issued for violation dates of July 24 and July 31.
Identity Innovations LLC, known as Captiv8 Potato Bar, Cleveland, received administrative citations for improper conduct – disorderly activity and limitation on hours for on-premises consumption. OIU Agents working jointly with the Cleveland Division of Police, received a call at midnight indicating the establishment was continuing to sell alcohol. Agents and officers approached the main door, found it locked, and were unable to gain access. Agents and officers observed the premises occupied by a large number of people. As they checked the premises, they found a rear door and observed security officers moving large numbers of people out of the building. Agents and officers gained access through the rear door, at which time they observed numerous patrons still inside the premises and evidence of on-premises consumption.
GWMKD Incorporated, known as A Touch of Italy, Shaker Heights, received administrative citations for improper conduct – disorderly activity and limitation on hours for on-premises consumption. OIU Agents were contacted by the Shaker Heights Police Department (SHPD) about the establishment violating current hours of sale. SHPD had responded to the premises sometime after 11 p.m. and gave a warning to the on-duty manager but did not believe he would comply. Agents arrived at approximately 12:45 a.m. and observed approximately 50 people packed into a confined area in and around the bar. Patrons were standing, congregating at the bar and dancing while consuming alcoholic beverages. Numerous bar staff were observed continuing to pour and serve alcoholic beverages directly in front of the agents. While it appeared some measures were in place to provide for physical distancing, egregious violations were observed regarding lack of social distance.
GLMR Incorporated, known as Secrets, Cleveland, received administrative citations for improper conduct – disorderly activity and limitation on hours for on-premises consumption. At approximately 2 a.m., agents met with Cleveland officers, who had just responded to a disturbance at the establishment. The establishment was heavily occupied and violating the current hours of sale. As officers and agents coordinated their entry, approximately 30-35 patrons were observed exiting the premises. Agents entered and discovered most patrons had departed. They observed approximately 15-20 people inside the premises and staff were aggressively cleaning glasses and bottles. Patrons were consuming alcoholic beverages, and evidence around the premises indicated recent alcoholic beverage consumption. Agents spoke with the on-duty manager who admitted alcoholic beverage sales for on-premises consumption were conducted until 1:45 a.m., the time of last call. It was apparent from statements provided by the staff and physical evidence the establishment had intentionally violated current hours of sale.
These 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 statewide were found in compliance with health orders, a number of warnings were issued throughout the night.
“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 compliant 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.