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Town House cited for violations

With the option of a $500 fine or suspension of alcohol sales between Oct. 26 and Oct. 30; one Marietta business recently admitted violations of public health orders.

The Town House, 230 Front St., was cited on Aug. 11, after agents of the Ohio State Highway Patrol conducted an investigation on Aug. 8 into the business for violations of the alcohol sales and consumption restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The business has until Oct. 26 to choose either the fine or the alcohol sales suspension as its penalty.

Violations

1. Allowed consumption of beer, wine, mixed beverages, or spirituous liquor on the premises Monday to Sunday between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. in violation of Rule 4301:1-1- 80(A)(2) of the Ohio Administrative Code (“limitation of hours for on-premises sales and consumption”).

2. Sold beer, wine, mixed beverages or spirituous liquor on the premises Monday to Sunday between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. in violation of Rule 4301:1-1-80(A)(1) of the Ohio Administrative Code (“limitation of hours for on-premises sales and consumption”).

3. Permit premises were not in a sanitary condition, to wit: alcoholic beverages held or offered for sale were not maintained in a potable condition, with “debris in a bottle” which the commission cited as a violation of Ohio Admin. Code 4301:1-1-17 (J).

Outcome

“At the hearing, the permit holder entered an admission as to the violations,” wrote the Ohio Liquor Control Commission in its Monday press release. “Based on the evidence presented, the commission found the permit holder in violation.”

Background

On July 30, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption.

The governor said bars lend themselves to people being close to others for hours at a time, whether at one establishment or several as people bar hop.

“We do not want to shut down Ohio bars and restaurants. That would be devastating to them,” the governor said.

On July 31, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission held an emergency meeting and approved DeWine’s proposed limits.

DeWine then signed Executive Order 2020-30-D, effective that evening and remaining in effect until Nov. 28, or when the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review formally adopts the emergency rule through its regular review process.

“The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors, with interactions between many different people,” said DeWine. “While this may have been fine during normal times, these are not normal times. We must make a change to curb the social behaviors that will cause this virus to continue to spread.”

On Aug. 4, multiple Columbus bars filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the emergency order.

On Aug. 6, that motion was denied in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. The case continues on into the court’s docket and is scheduled for trial in August 2021.

On Aug. 8, OSHP investigators responded to multiple complaints against the Town House for:

¯ No social distancing,

¯ employees and patrons not wearing masks,

¯ the hosting of concerts with large crowds,

¯ employees violating the hours of on-premises consumption of alcohol.

Between Sept. 21 and 25, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission conducted hearings on 15 cases against liquor permit holders in Ohio. Outcomes ranged from dismissal of complaints to 5- to 20-day suspension of alcohol sales and fines between $500 and $2,400.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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