WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Six Ohio businesses were cited recently after state investigators observed violations of state orders occurring at them, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol release issued Sunday.
The Kings Grill in Lebanon, Ohio was among those cited.
Ohio Investigative Unit agents entered Kings Grill sometime last week and were able to purchase beer at 10:45 p.m. in violation of an Ohio Liquor Control Commission rule passed July 31 that prohibits the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants past 10 p.m.
OSP began issuing releases detailing citations against Ohio establishments on Aug. 1. The citation against Kings Grill marks Greater Cincinnati’s first.
Including the six businesses cited Sunday, a total of 15 businesses have been cited by OIU since Aug. 1. Not all of those citations were for what OIU terms “limitation on hours for on-premises consumption,” and two of those citations did not violate the liquor commission rule at all.
The unit is staffed by fully sworn, plainclothes peace officers and is responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws, according OSP’s release.
Per the liquor commission’s rule, OIU is empowered to enforce the rule and issue citations for violating it.
Additionally, Dewine announced the unit in May as part of a team to enforce ODH orders in bars and restaurants. OIU is now providing safety checks to ensure compliance with the state’s COVID-19 directives, OSP says.
Other citations announced Sunday include three for serving alcohol after 10 p.m., one for selling more than three mixed drinks to-go without a food purchase and one for staff not wearing facial coverings.
The cases will now go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, OSP says, including fines and the possible suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
Eric Wolf is OIU enforcement commander.
“The majority of establishments we visit are doing everything they can to provide a safe environment for their patrons,” Wolf said in the release. “It is no surprise to see so many following the precautions put in place to make their establishments safe and compliant with the directives. Agents will continue to conduct compliance checks and take enforcement action when egregious violations are observed.”