Businesses cited for failing to follow COVID-19 health orders

Two businesses in Northwest Ohio were issued citations.
Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 9:26 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Bars and restaurants across Ohio are operating under a new set of rules due to COVID-19. The Ohio Dine Safe Order outlines all of the current rules for dining establishments. Some of the current regulations include social distancing measures, stopping patrons from congregating and not allowing anyone to walk around with a drink in their hand.

But as with any regulation, the question becomes, who is enforcing the restrictions? The Ohio Investigative Unit is a arm of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The agents work in six districts across the state, enforcing liquor laws and investigating food stamp fraud. With current COVID-19 restrictions, the agency is now adding another item to it’s plate, investigating complaints about bars and restaurants not enforcing current safety rules.

Michelle Thourot, Special Agent in Charge with the Ohio Investigative Unit, says many of the agents work with local health departments and police departments to follow-up on reports of establishments with liquor licenses that are not following the rules.

Thourot says from Friday- Sunday, July 17-19, agents investigated 311 complaints statewide. 10 citations were issued, including two businesses in Northwest Ohio. Amy May’s Tacos in Findlay and Viaduct in Tiffin were both issued a citation after OIU reported seeing multiple employees without masks.

Another was at a Mexican restaurant in Toledo, on Heatherdowns near Reynolds. The state documents allege an employee was selling to-go alcohol without a food purchase, which is required. Liquor licenses are at risk for all of the bars facing citations. Hearings for the violations are scheduled for next month.

Thourot says they the goal is to make sure every business is operating safely, not to issue citations. Right now, OIU agents are issuing citations for “egregious situations.”

If you have a concern or a complaint, you can call your local health department or the Ohio Investigative Unit 614-644-2415.

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