CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I TEAM has found Cleveland police investigating hundreds of complaints for “mass gatherings,” crowds of people, at a time when state orders are limiting crowds due to the coronavirus. And, video obtained by the I TEAM reveals how police cleared out a popular spot at the lakefront.
A witness shared video with us from Sunday evening showing multiple police cars with flashing lights and a long line of citizen cars pulling out from the East 9th Street Pier.
On the video, you can also hear an officer on a loudspeaker saying, “This is your last warning. If you don’t get off (the pier), you’ll be under arrest.”
The owner of Nuevo, a popular restaurant on the pier, told us she completely understands the restrictions on big groups. But, seeing the pier cleared Sunday evening was heartbreaking since she relies on people being there.
Lisa Hirt told us Nuevo is only doing about 10% of its normal business since restaurants can only rely on take-out sales.
Hirt said, “I see that we don’t want to have gatherings going on. We want to control this COVID as much as we can. But, on the other hand, we have a crowd there that obviously sees our restaurant. Could be current patrons, or future patrons.”
Last week, the I TEAM revealed many area police departments getting 911 calls for kids, even entire families, on playgrounds. Playgrounds have been closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
And, as of Monday, Cleveland police had investigated more than 230 possible “mass gatherings.”
Among the places in Cleveland getting the most complaints, the Zone Rec Center.
But two of the top three include stores selling hair and beauty supplies. Those businesses have each had 7 complaints.
Back at the pier, many more spring and summer nights are coming, and they are sure to draw more crowds to the lakefront.
Yet, we may see again what we saw Sunday evening. At Nuevo, the health emergency can’t end soon enough.
Lisa Hirt said, “We get busy when it’s sunny out.”
Records show Cleveland police have gotten a spike in calls for gatherings on Fridays and Saturdays.