Investigators issue citations for restaurant & bar COVID violations

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - With Ohio’s reopening, law enforcement is making sure it’s being done in a safe and legal way. Already some bars and restaurant have been cited for not following the COVID-19 emergency rules.

Investigators came across such large issues at Jake's Saloon on Dorr Street in Toledo that state investigators say the owners decided to shut the doors at least temporarily.

After 541 inspections over the long holiday weekend, state agents cited two Lucas County establishments for not complying with social distancing requirements handed down by the state Health Director.

The first was Jed's American Grill on Holland-Sylvania by Bancroft. State investigators found people playing pool, which for now violates the health rules.

“The agents had given the owner some instructions to attempt to get him to comply with the situation and told him the patrons were not allowed to play pool. He did not think it was a big deal at the time and didn't comply with the warning they attempted to give him,” said Shawn Tatter with the Ohio Investigative Unit.

A Jed's representative told 13abc over the phone that this was an isolated incident, they take measures to keep people safe and that they will be fighting the citation.

The second citation for improper conduct, disorderly activity was at Jake's Saloon on Dorr Street by Douglas Road. Investigators say they found people packed into the place, some shoulder to shoulder.

"There was no social distancing, there was just a larger number of patrons. They were also playing games," said Tatter.

No one answered the phone or was at Jake's Saloon on Tuesday afternoon. State investigators say bar ownership voluntarily shutdown temporarily.

Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit, Casino Control Commission and Toledo Police Department worked together for the inspections which also resulted in eight warnings, trying to let bar and restaurant owners know what they can and cannot do.

"There are very few of them out there that are not complying, and our goal in this whole thing is to educate them and try to get them into compliance,” said Tatter.

Tatter says the biggest issue was people standing around, not leaving space between people unless they were in the same group.

There was one more COVID related citation -- the Cinco de Mayo on Heatherdowns Boulevard in Toledo was cited for selling to-go alcohol to someone without selling food. Customers can get a to-go drink but they have to purchase a meal.