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12 Ohio businesses cited for not enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines

They include the owners of Luchita's Mexican Restaurant in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — Governor Mike DeWine had said there would be penalties for violating coronavirus guidelines at bars and restaurants in Ohio.

On Friday, 3News learned that 12 businesses have been cited across the state.

They include Galindo, Inc. which owns Luchita’s Mexican Restaurant on West 117th Street in Cleveland.

The violation there describes “a condition that presents a risk of illness.”

Four businesses involve Put-In-Bay, and deal with Adventure Bay, a pool and tiki Bar on Erie Street, Put-In-Bay Resort, and Park Hotel.

Those violations describe “improper conduct,” with one even citing an employee for obstructing an inspection.

When the State of Ohio reopened in May, the State Highway Patrol was tasked with enforcing coronavirus safety in bars and restaurants and they continue to follow the governor’s orders.

“Most bar owners are doing a good job, but we do have bar owners out there who are not doing a good job,” Gov. DeWine said.

The enforcement is unlikely to go away any time soon.

“We’ll be out again this weekend, we’ll have additional people. They will be going into bars and making sure that the bar is complying with social distancing,” Gov. DeWine said. “It is a change in culture that we’re looking for.”

At the same time, people seem to be self-policing.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said Friday that they continue to get calls.

“We had 1400 calls from people indicating that they were concerned about people not wearing masks,” Budish said. “As those calls come in, we are giving the information over to the county health and to the City of Cleveland Board of Health. Both of those have enforcement powers.”

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Already outbreaks in Ohio have been traced to bars.

Governor DeWine said 3 bars were shut down in Athens County when workers became sick with coronavirus.

The businesses cited will have a hearing next month before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.

Sarah Creedon, the commission’s executive director, had the following to say about possible penalties:

“The Liquor Control Commission has broad discretion in determining the proper penalty in any given case. The Commission has the authority to suspend or revoke a permit, and in most cases has the authority to issue a financial forfeiture in lieu of serving a suspension. The Commission will consider many different factors, including the nature of the violation, the seriousness of the offense, the facts of the case, the permit holder’s prior record, if any, as well as any other relevant information, including any mitigation evidence presented by the permit holder.”

Governor DeWine said he would not rule out criminal charges for repeat offenders.

You can read the Ohio Liquor Control Commission citations below.

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