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OIU investigating after more than 200 people found not social distancing in Cleveland warehouse illegally serving alcohol

2 additional bars in NE Ohio cited for violating COVID-19 health orders
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Posted at 2:51 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 23:24:28-05

CLEVELAND — The Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) cited two Northeast Ohio establishments for violating COVID-19 health orders on New Year’s Eve. In addition to the citations, agents and local enforcement are investigating a non-liquor permit establishment known as Underground Cleveland or Underground CLE, Cleveland, where more than 200 people were found not social distancing, according to a release from OIU.

Agents and officers from the Cleveland Division of Police received numerous complaints from citizens and liquor permit holders regarding illegal alcohol sales and overt disregard for public health measures at Underground Cleveland.

"We received the complaint basically saying that they were having this party. It was by invitation only," said Commander Eric Wolf.

At around 11:40 p.m., agents and officers entered the warehouse at 2435 Sinclair Avenue and observed more than 200 patrons packed tightly with no social distancing measures or physical barriers in place.

"They were operating, pretty much, as a permit establishment and they were operating it as a bar," said Wolf.

Agents located a full bar service and seized more than 750 bottles and cans of alcoholic beverages. OIU said charges are pending a review from the prosecutor's office.

The WHB Klub, Inc, known as 1899 Pub in Willoughby, received a citation for improper conduct-disorderly activity.

Around 9:30 p.m., agents entered the bar and observed “egregious” violations as a large number of patrons were tightly packed in a small space with no social distancing or physical barriers in place.

Agents said they were unable to move throughout the bar without having direct contact with other patrons. Most of the patrons were not wearing masks. Agents said patrons were able to freely move around the establishment while consuming alcoholic beverages.

In Cleveland, agents cited Velvet Dog, located on West 6th Street, for improper conduct-disorderly activity.

At around 9:50 p.m., agents, Cleveland police and fire and the health department observed numerous patrons not wearing masks.

Patrons were observed closely together and permitted to stand and walk freely with alcoholic beverages.

Velvet Dog was previously cited on Dec. 12 for improper conduct—disorderly activity.

The OIU also cited a Shakers Bar in Columbus and Papa’s Tavern in Toledo for improper conduct-disorderly activity.