Gov. DeWine announces compliance checks for Ohio businesses not social distancing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - After a big re-opening weekend as Ohio starts to get back to normal from the coronavirus shutdown, Governor Mike DeWine has announced the state will be actively enforcing the social distancing requirements for businesses.

"I've always tried to be blunt about everything we are finding. I've been candid in saying that in this reopening phase, there is a significant risk," DeWine said at his Monday afternoon press conference. "But, there are significant risks if we do not open up. It's up to all of us to open our economy but to do this in a safe way."

DeWine said that officials received several complaints over the weekend of crowded areas where businesses like bars and restaurants had re-opened to outdoor dining.

Because keeping new COVID-19 infections down is key to the country's plan to re-open the economy, the governor said enforcement appears to be necessary.

"We are marshaling all the resources at our disposal to assemble a large contingent of law enforcement and health officials from across state agencies and from our local communities," DeWine said. "We will coordinate with them as part of the Department of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit. They will surge in to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants."

Punishment for non-compliance will be administrative citations, which could result in the revocation of liquor licenses, DeWine stated, adding that potential criminal actions could be taken by municipal prosecutors.