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Ohio Investigative Unit issued 344 citations statewide since March 2020

Agents visited more than 29,000 liquor permit establishments in the past year.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:52 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Ohio Investigative Unit is busy. The agency is in charge of making sure liquor permit holders are following rules linked to their liquor license. Agents also investigate SNAP benefit misuse or fraud. This past year the pandemic added another layer to the job. Agents who typically visit bars to make sure they are complying with the laws, not serving underage customers, and stopped liquor sales at a certain time, are also in charge of making sure each permit holder is following the COVID-19 health order put in place by the state.

Up until recently, that included making sure that last call was at 10:00 PM and no liquor was served after that point to comply with the statewide curfew. The curfew is now lifted but new data shows a majority of the complaints coming in to OIU were linked to potential curfew violations. The Ohio Investigative Unit makes a majority of its stops based on tips from the public, health departments, and law enforcement partners.

Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf says the goal is to make sure permit holders are complying but they are not out to simply issue citations. Wolf says a majority of the job is educating permit holders and then making sure they continue to follow the rules and regulations.

According to data from the Ohio Investigative Unit, since mid-March 2020 agents made 29,130 visits to liquor permit holders across the state. Agents issued citations to 344 establishments for a variety of violations, including the COVID-19 health order rules that include social distancing and curfew violations. Around 60 of those bars and restaurants cited are in Northwest Ohio.

Agents also issued 159 warnings statewide. 33 of those warnings were issued to liquor permit holders in Northwest Ohio.

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