OHIO, USA — Two Northeast Ohio businesses were cited Friday for violating state COVID-19 health orders.
As the state of Ohio navigates a surge in Coronavirus cases, agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit continue their work to enforce the health orders put in place by Gov. Mike DeWine to slow the spread of the disease.
MJK Tavern Inc., known as Around the Corner, Lakewood, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Agents visited the establishment at 8:55 p.m. and observed egregious violations throughout the patio and in a separate building (all part of the liquor permit premises). Patrons were closely congregated throughout those areas with a lack of social distancing and physical barriers between groups of patrons. Patrons in different groups occupied consecutive seats at both bars. Patrons congregated near the bar. While the establishment took some steps to achieve compliance, including some partitions and signage, no social distancing of any type was being enforced.
MMD Entertainment Inc., known as Sky Mediterranean, Parma Heights, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity, as a result of the lack of social distancing and curfew violations. Agents and officers from the Parma Heights Police Department arrived at the establishment at 10:25 p.m. to issue a violation which stemmed from a police case on December 12. Upon arrival agents and officers observed approximately 75 patrons and a lack of social distancing. The patrons were observed smoking hookah and consuming alcohol and food. Agents also issued a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity for the case on December 12, when Parma Heights officers reported at 10:21 p.m. they observed approximately 100 patrons eating, drinking, and smoking hookah. Officers noted a lack of social distancing. This liquor permit was also cited on October 30 and November 13 for improper conduct – disorderly activity, after hours consumption and after hours sales.
The other two businesses cited were located in Warren and Ashville.
The Rig, Warren, was cited for improper conduct – disorderly activity, as a result of the lack of social distancing and curfew violations. Agents visited the establishment at 10:25 p.m. and found the location to be open with approximately 100 patrons. The patrons were shoulder to shoulder throughout the establishment, with no social distancing measures in place.
Trackside Bar, Ashville, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity, as a result of the lack of social distancing and curfew violations. Agents entered at 10:05 p.m. to issue a citation to the liquor permit stemming from an Ashville Police Department case. Agents observed approximately 20 patrons seated and standing in small groups consuming alcoholic beverages. No one inside the premises was wearing a mask. Agents did not see bar staff attempt to close or tell patrons to exit, until after agents identified themselves as law enforcement. Agents also issued a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity for the police case on December 11 at 8:32 p.m., where Ashville officers observed patrons standing, consuming alcoholic beverages and congregating on the dance floor. Officers observed patrons and staff not wearing masks and not social distancing.
The cases now go before the Ohio Liquor Commission, where the bars could potentially face fines or have their liquor licenses suspended or revoked. Numerous Northeast Ohio bars have been fined since the rules were put in place over the summer, with two--Highland Tavern in Akron and Club Paradis in Cleveland--losing their licenses altogether.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Health reported 8,567 new cases in the last 24 hours and 64 new deaths.