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Complaints, but few violations of health orders last weekend

Agencies say most tried to follow guidelines
Posted at 4:37 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 18:44:08-04

CLEVELAND, OH — Agencies in charge of enforcement of new state health rules intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 said Tuesday most people seemed serious about following the guidelines Memorial Day weekend.

Cleveland police took 90 complaints of large gatherings during the three day weekend, but a spokeswoman said no citations were issued by officers.

Summit County's health department received 107 complaints ranging from workers not wearing masks to businesses not maintaining social distancing.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health received just two complaints.

The Ohio Investigative Unit's agents in its Cleveland and Akron Districts visited 1,122 establishments that sell alcohol, but issued only 17 warnings to businesses. Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said those warnings were for minor violations, including people not staying seated while they ate or drank.

"We did not know how people would react, how the bar owners and restaurant managers would work to ensure people's safety," said Wolf. "But we were very pleased with the level of compliance both on the business side for the bars and restaurants as well as all the patrons for these locations."

Statewide, Wolf said only four businesses were cited for violations of the health orders, but none of those were in Northeast Ohio.

One of the busiest places Memorial Day was Edgewater Park, where Cleveland Metroparks closed the park to visitors Monday afternoon after it hit capacity.

"An overcrowded park will lead to a closed park and that's something that can and will happen throughout the season," said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman.

He said Edgewater has limited its capacity to ensure social distancing, while trying to balance increased demand due to cancellations and closure of other outdoor activities

"We are going to be challenged with visitation," said Zimmerman. "It's a great place to go, but there are lots of places to spread out."

Zimmerman said police did issue a number of citations during the Memorial Day weekend, but said none of those cited were for violations of health orders.

"I think genuinely, truthfully people don't want to get sick so they're going to work to keep themselves apart," said Zimmerman. "Responsible families are going to work to keep their families safe as well."

To avoid getting shut out of parks, Zimmerman recommends visiting in the morning when they're less-crowded, or visiting less-crowded trails. He said if crowds get too big, police will shutdown parks to allow for proper social distancing.