Park Street Cantina in the Short North is among 11 bars statewide facing hearings before the Ohio Liquor Commission after being accused of violating health and safety regulations aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
Investigators with the State Highway Patrol charged the bar with disorderly conduct stemming from a May incident of failing to maintain social distancing as required under Ohio’s emergency health orders.
Owners of Cantina’s bar, who face possible revocation of their liquor license and criminal charges, could not be reached for comment.
Citations also were issued for the Wine Vault in Vermillion; Luchitas Mexican Restaurant in Cleveland; Sauders Stumble Inn in Bascom; Martha’s Tavern in Medway; Limons Mexican Restaurant in Toledo; Bar on Third in Ironton; the Dusty Mug in Portsmouth; and Put In Bay Resort, Hotel on the Park and Adventure Bay, all in Put-in-Bay.
Several patrons of Put-in-Bay bars have gotten the coronavirus, local health officials say. Pictures were widely shared on social media of unmasked customers packing various establishments.
Social media posts also showed patrons jammed into Park Street Cantina. According to an investigative report of the May 16 incident, agents “observed a line of patrons standing along the bar on all sides and several people congregating around the bar area. There were very few patrons seated as required and the majority were standing in close proximity to each other. Patrons were walking around and others were dancing in between the bar and tables.”
Hearings before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission are to be held in August.
Gov. Mike DeWine allowed bars and restaurants to reopen in mid-May, warning that they must follow safety requirements or face action affecting their state liquor licenses and be referred to local prosecutors for potential criminal charges.
He noted the impending hearings during his coronavirus briefing Thursday afternoon, the day after issuing a plea to Ohioans to adhere to health rules or face the consequences.
Violation of a public health order during a pandemic is punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentences of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Ohio’s emergency health guidelines require social distancing among patrons and masks for employees.