Town House cited for violating executive order
The Town House in Marietta was cited Friday night after receiving complaints of violations of an executive order signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to control the spread of the virus.
The order, which went into effect July 31, requires all liquor permit establishments that sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to end alcohol sales starting at 10 p.m. each evening. It prohibits all on-premises alcohol consumption at these same liquor permit premises between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.; and increases the amount of “drinks-to-go” that can be sold with a meal purchase from two to three.
The order states the emergency rule remains in effect for 120 days or until rescinded by the Liquor Control Commission, whichever is sooner.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, at 1:35 a.m., agents entered the establishment and observed patrons consuming alcoholic beverages on the outdoor patio and inside around the bar. Despite the fact it was well past 10 p.m., an agent was able to purchase an alcoholic beverage from the bar.
Agents received complaints about violations of both Ohio Department of Health orders and hours for on-premises consumption from the local health department and citizens. The state patrol noted the complainants indicated there was no social distancing, employees and patrons were not wearing masks, concerts with large crowds were hosted, and employees were violating the hours of on-premises consumption.
The bar received an administrative citation for limitation on hours for on-premises consumption and insanitary conditions (alcoholic beverages not maintained in potable condition).
“As far as hearings and any kind of penalty, that comes from the Liquor Control Commission,” said Jennifer Jarrell, deputy chief communications officer for the Ohio Department of Commerce.
City Law Director Paul Bertram said penalties could include fines, or suspension or revocation of liquor permits.
“The penalties will depend on extenuating circumstances, he added, noting that instead of going through municipal court or the health department, the hearings would be in-house administrative hearings by the liquor commission.
Marietta/Belpre City Health Commissioner Anne Goon said this is the first establishment that she knows of in the area being cited.
“This is the number one place we’ve gotten complaints about,” she said. Complaints included not protecting employees by requiring them to wear face masks, no plexiglass barriers and no social distancing.
“They clearly had crowds of people, allowing for easy spread of anything and everything,” Goon said.
Town House owner Nathan Matheny was not available for comment Monday afternoon.
DeWine asked for the new rule after seeing outbreaks at bars across Ohio.