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Toledo bars still adapting to state guidelines after citations

Owners and managers of bars say maintaining social distancing is still a challenge
Published: Oct. 18, 2020 at 9:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Spotlight Lounge was hit with a citation from the Ohio Investigative Unit this weekend. According to agents, people were roaming throughout the bar, not practicing social distancing.

The club’s manager, Tracy Haynes, says this weekend marked the bar’s first live music event since reopening after the COVID-19 shutdown.

“We didn’t expect the crowd like that," says Haynes, “In these times doing business, there are going to be some growing pains."

Haynes says for future events, he and his team will work to come up with solutions so capacity can be better maintained at the door, so the venue can continue to host entertainment events while keeping people safe.

“I learned a lot last night. I see a lot of growing areas … and believe me, I’m definitely on it," Haynes said.

Across town, The Polish Ostrich has been cited twice.

Agents say on September 26 there were large crowds inside the bar with no social distancing in place. Two weeks later, another citation, this time for after-hours consumption of alcohol.

Since then, the bar’s owner says she’s hired security, and last call is now 9:30 p.m., with doors closed at 10 p.m.

“It’s hard to get people to throw their drinks away at 11 so we decided to start closing earlier,” says Mary Kay Bunge, owner of the Polish Ostrich.

“We want to get everything back to normal," she said. "We don’t want anyone getting sick, we don’t want to get sick. We’re pretty much protecting our customers, our employees, ourselves.”

All cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, which could include fines or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.

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