(Columbus) – Agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) cited three 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:
Pawpurr’s Bar, Athens, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. The Athens Police Department received a complaint about a large crowd at the Pawpurr’s Bar. Agents entered and observed more than 40 patrons standing at the bar, some were consuming alcoholic beverages while others waited to purchase drinks. The groups standing at the bar were three patrons deep, shoulder to shoulder with no social distancing, and not wearing masks. Agents observed patrons walking around freely consuming alcoholic beverages and intermixing with other social groups at tables and at the bar. Agents explained the violations along with the corrective actions needed put in place to ensure a safe environment.
Oddbody’s, Riverside, received an administrative citation for limitation on hours for on-premises consumption. The Riverside Police Department (RPD) referred a case to OIU for violations they observed on a previous date. On August 22 at 12:12 a.m., RPD visited the premises and observed a concert taking place. Inside, patrons were observed by officers in possession of alcoholic beverages, reflecting a violation of after-hours consumption. Agents visited the establishment and issued a citation based on the information contained in the RPD case report.
Doghouse Bar, Sandusky, received an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Agents assisted the Sandusky Police Department at Doghouse Bar after they received numerous complaints in and around the premises. Agents and officers approached the establishment but were unable to gain immediate access due to a security system. Upon entry, agents and officers found approximately 40 patrons compressed into a portion of the bar in one large group with no social distance measures in place. Very few employees or patrons were wearing masks. An inspection of the premises showed no social distance or physical barriers were established between seats at the bar or tables, and no markings on the floor to establish proper distancing for ordering purposes.
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 see that most of the permit premises are following the precautions put in place to make their establishments safe and they are complying with the directives,” said OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf. “As agents continue to conduct compliance checks they take enforcement action when egregious violations like these are observed.”
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.