COLUMBUS - Agents visited the following liquor-permitted establishments on December 31, 2020, and issued citations after witnessing violations:
WHB Klub Inc., known as 1899 Pub, Willoughby, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. Agents entered the establishment at 9:30 p.m. and immediately observed egregious violations as a large number of patrons were tightly packed into a small space with no social distancing or physical barriers in place. Agents were unable to move through the establishment without having direct contact. Most patrons were not wearing masks. Also, patrons were permitted to stand and move about the establishment while consuming alcoholic beverages.
West 6th St Partners Inc., known as Velvet Dog, Cleveland, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. At 9:50 p.m., agents, the Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Division of Fire and Cleveland Department of Public Health observed numerous patrons not wearing masks. Patrons were closely congregated throughout the establishment and permitted to stand and walk freely with alcoholic beverages. The premises also failed to meet several requirements for physical spaces. The liquor permit premises was previously cited on December 12 for improper conduct – disorderly activity.
Shakers Bar, Columbus, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. At 10:45 p.m. agents observed approximately 80 people in the bar or patio areas. Bar staff and patrons were not wearing masks and were consuming alcoholic beverages. As agents spoke to the bar owner, bar staff continued to serve patrons alcoholic beverages. Officers from the Franklin Township Police Department assisted agents on scene.
Papa’s Tavern LLC., known as Papa’s Tavern, Toledo, received a citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. At 8:35 p.m., agents observed more than 75 patrons in the bar and approximately 15 patrons in an enclosed patio. Numerous patrons were standing while consuming alcohol and not social distancing. Agents were unable to walk through the permit premises and maintain social distancing. Agents observed bar employees not properly wearing masks.
The above cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
In addition to the above locations, agents, the Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Division of Fire and the Cleveland Department of Health investigated a non-liquor permit establishment known as Underground Cleveland or Underground CLE, Cleveland. Agents and officers have received numerous complaints from citizens and liquor permit holders regarding illegal sales of alcohol and overt disregard for public health measures, including operating hours which permit premises are required to follow. At 11:40 p.m., agents and officers entered the warehouse and observed more than 200 patrons packed tightly, with no social distancing measures or physical barriers in place. Agents observed full bar service and seized more than 750 bottles and cans of alcoholic beverages. Charges are pending prosecutor review.
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.