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Lack of masks most common coronavirus-related complaint against Seneca County businesses

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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TIFFIN — The Seneca County General Health District has been receiving multiple complaints per week regarding alleged violations of health orders and guidelines amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to records reviewed by TiffinOhio.net, local health officials have received 34 coronavirus-related complaints against local businesses for the period of May 29 through July 14.

The vast majority of complaints involved a lack of masks at area businesses, while a few reports were in regards to a lack of social distancing or a combination of both.

A complaint was made against The Willows at Tiffin, a senior living facility, on July 2 for transferring COVID-19 positive patients from out of Seneca County into the facility. Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer responded to the complainant via email in that case, stating the control of that situation was out of her hands and that those patients were contained separately from other, healthy patients.

Attica Raceway was the subject of a complaint filed with local health officials on July 13, with the complainant stating that out-of-state individuals were coming in to race at the facility. Schweitzer said the Seneca County General Health District determined that there was nothing in the state guidelines as of that date regarding people coming in from out-of-state.

The only business to be the subject of more than three complaints during the period of May 29 through July 14 is Benchwarmers in Tiffin, all regarding a lack of masks, but there was no indication from the Seneca County General Health District that any citations were issued. A sanitarian with the local health department visited the business to discuss the complaints, according to Schweitzer.

Two businesses in Seneca County have been cited by the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) for alleged violations of coronavirus-related health orders.

According to an investigative report filed by the OIU, Saubers Stumble Inn in Bascom was cited May 15 for allegedly hindering or obstructing an inspection, failure to comply with emergency rules regarding on-premises consumption, and improper conduct / disorderly activity. Additionally, investigators photographed a yellow sign on the building facing the parking area which stated “NOTOURRULES,” according to the report.

On July 18, Viaduct Bar & Grill in Tiffin was issued an administrative citation for improper conduct – disorderly activity. OIU agents visited Viaduct Bar & Grill after receiving a complaint from the Seneca County General Health District alleging violations of ODH orders. During the visit, agents observed several employees not wearing masks.

Some of the OIU citations will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for hearings beginning August 3. Penalties for violations of COVID-19 safety orders range from fines to license suspension or revocation.

“The goal of these compliance checks is to safeguard all patrons by ensuring that liquor-permitted establishments maintain compliancy, so they can continue to serve their customers and everyone can enjoy a safe and healthy experience,” said OIU Agent-in-Charge Michelle Thourot. “Educating liquor-permit holders about the order has been the priority of the Ohio Investigative Unit, however when egregious violations are observed, enforcement action is taken. We’re asking patrons to help out their favorite bars and restaurants by following the precautions put in place to make these establishments safe and compliant with the directives.”

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