CLEVELAND — The Ohio Investigative Unit has cited four Northeast Ohio bars for violations of various state health orders, including the measure prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages past 10 p.m. that went into effect Friday.
Agents apparently witnesses the violations themselves, with the following establishments being reprimanded:
- A Touch of Italy, Shaker Heights: Officials say a manager was issued a warning after improper sales were observed, but did not comply with requests to stop. Drinks were still being served at the bar around 12:45 a.m. with about 50 people packed in and dancing, an "egregious" violation of further social distancing measures. Citations issued for disorderly activity and limitation on hours for on-premises consumption.
- Captiv8 Potato Bar, Cleveland: Agents say they received a tip around midnight that the bar was still serving alcohol, and upon arrival they "a large number of people" still inside. Citations issued for disorderly activity and limitation for on-premises consumption.
- Floods Restaurant, Warrensville Heights: Officials had apparently been issuing a previous citation for July 24, when the bar was seen packed to more than double its permitted capacity. Last night, the OIU returned and found about 75 people packed inside while drinking and dancing, another violation. Citations issued for disorderly conduct.
- Secrets, Cleveland: Around 2 a.m., Cleveland police officers responded to a separate "disturbance" at the bar when they observed it "heavily" occupied with about 30-35 people, several of whom were still drinking alcohol. The manager apparently admitted to selling such drinks until 1:45 a.m., the normal last call. Citations issued for disorderly conduct and limitations for on-premises consumption.
All cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, where the bars face fines or even the revocation of their liquor licenses. In addition, the OIU says "multiple" warnings were issued to other bars throughout the evening, although the vast majority were complying with the health mandates.
OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf issued the following statement:
"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. 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."
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the order yesterday after previously requesting the commission take up the recommendations, which it did so. DeWine says the measures are necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 as people are at higher risk in congregate settings (often bars), but several businesses are worried about their future as the period after 10 p.m. is normally one of their busiest.