I-TEAM: What investigators are finding during COVID-19 complaints at local bars and clubs

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Video just released to the FOX 8 I-TEAM gives you the first look at what investigators are finding in some local bars as crowds ignore Governor DeWine’s health orders for COVID-19.

The I-TEAM obtained video from the Ohio Investigative Unit, state agents, as they went into Club Paradis in Cleveland. They saw crowds partying close together and many people not wearing a mask. The agents cited that club two nights in a row.

The I-TEAM also obtained Cleveland police video showing what happened last month in the Warehouse District. The video shows a very large crowd pouring out of the club called Rumor. Officers filed a criminal charge against the manager for violating health orders.

The video shows an officer ask for the manager and say, “This is your citation for social distancing just saying you were the manager of the nightclub,  and you allowed it to be overrun with people.”

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Cleveland police occasionally have filed charges for violating health orders. Those cases could result in a little jail time or a fine. The Ohio Investigative Unit has filed citations around the state that could lead to fines or action against a bar’s liquor license.

We went to Club Paradis and spoke to the management team about getting cited twice in two days.

Westley Carter said, “It’s disheartening. We’re doing everything we can.”

He pointed out signs at the entrance saying everyone needs a mask. The club also gave us video showing customers wearing masks. Still, managers admit it can be tough expecting everyone to keep a mask on and stay 6 feet apart for social distancing.

Carter added, “It’s tedious…constantly asking, ’Put your mask on. Put your mask on. I know you had a mask coming in.’”

So, Club Paradis has now put up dividers around the establishment to help keep crowds apart. And, the club is putting more limits on the number of people allowed inside.

Westley Carter said, “We’re gomna try to fit within the Governor’s orders.

And club owner Willis Tabron added, “I just know that now we’re gonna follow the state rules put in place. We respect our officers. We’re gonna comply.”

The case against the manager at Rumor is just beginning to move through court.

Meantime, state agents plan to check out more bars and restaurants around the state this weekend looking for violations of the COVID-19 health orders.

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