Ohio Authorities Send Undercover Agents to Bars, Restaurants to Enforce Social Distancing Rules


Catch the eye of a potential date at the local watering hole?  Well you have better not get too close…you never know who might be watching.

In Ohio, as bars and restaurant prepare to reopen under the auspices of social distancing and enhanced sanitation guidelines, authorities aren’t taking any chances on compliance.

As patrons potentially flock to bars and restaurants over the holiday weekend, extra undercover agents will be out to observe, educate and, if necessary, enforce the state’s public health order to thwart the spread of coronavirus.

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The agents are part of the Ohio Investigative Unit, which is made up of plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws.

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Along with looking for criminal activity, the officers now are tasked with watching for potential violations of the state’s health order for restaurants and bars to safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

And while the constant threat of being watched is enough to kill the mood, (something that restauranteurs are sure to complain about), there are also some serious repercussions to be had for rule-breakers.

The agents can issue administrative citations, which could lead to a hearing with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. Possible penalties include fines, suspensions or even revoking a business’ liquor permit.

“We just don’t know the compliance rate out there,” Ohio Investigative Unit Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said. “We certainly expect that a vast majority of the places we visit will be in compliance and do what they have to do.”

So the next time you’re tempted to buy that babe at the Buckeye bar a glass of bourbon, just remember, Big Brother may very well be watching.

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