- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2020

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday said the state is deploying officials to conduct compliance checks of bars and restaurants and that the businesses could lose their liquor licenses or face criminal action if they aren’t following social distancing rules.

“We saw in some places customers were not following the rules and the people running the bar were not taking responsibility. So both have to do that,” Mr. DeWine said, referring to recent images of crowded bars in the state.

He said customers have to be seated in bars and restaurants when they’re eating or drinking alcohol on the premises.

Mr. DeWine said people from various departments will work with the state’s Ohio Investigative Unit to step up enforcement.

“They will surge in to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants. They will issue administrative citations that can result in the revocation of liquor licenses,” Mr. DeWine said.



He also said the officials will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal action against “these bad actors.”

Mr. DeWine said bar and restaurant patrons can “absolutely” be cited as well if they don’t follow the rules.

“To my fellow Ohioans who at least by the pictures didn’t look like they thought that this remains a threat, let me just say it is a threat,” the governor said.

Mr. DeWine said most bars and restaurants were doing a decent job of controlling things despite some of the publicized “outliers.”
“This jeopardizes, frankly, our ability to move forward as a state,” he said.

Mr. DeWine had said on Sunday that officials did issue a citation to one Columbus bar.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley had warned over the weekend that bars could be shut down if necessary if customers didn’t abide by new rules putting limits on large parties and mandating that tables be at least six feet apart.

Outdoor service at the state’s bars and restaurants was allowed to resume on Friday and indoor services were slated to restart on May 21.

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