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Ohio Investigative Unit to start inspecting bars and restaurants for COVID-19 safety compliance

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Governor Mike DeWine announced this week that he is assembling an enforcement team to ensure that bars and restaurants are operating safely under the Responsible RestartOhio plan.

Bars and restaurants reopened to patrons for outdoor dining on Friday. Dine-in service is scheduled to resume on May 21.

“We know that many Ohio bars and restaurants are working very hard to comply with the safety guidelines, and I want to commend them for doing that,” said Governor DeWine. “We did, however, receive several very troubling reports this weekend of bars and restaurants that were not complying with proper social distancing guidelines. We cannot allow the few bad actors to threaten the potential closure of other restaurants and bars.”


The enforcement team will operate as part of the Ohio Department of Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) and will conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants.

Businesses found violating the Stay Safe Ohio order will receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses.

The OIU team will also work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against business owners who do not follow the order, which includes the requirement that patrons remain seated while eating/drinking and that parties stay six feet apart.

As of Wednesday at 2 p.m., there are 29,436 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in Ohio and 1,781 confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths. A total of 5,198 people have been hospitalized, including 1,369 admissions to intensive care units.

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