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WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Employees at one local bar say they don’t believe they violated any state orders this weekend, even though they were given a citation by state agents for social distancing violations.

“It was in the parking lot, not inside,” an employee told the FOX 8 I-Team Monday.

Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit, however, say they  issued citations to the owner of Floods Urban Seafood Lounge in Warrensville Heights Friday night for allegedly operating at more than double the permitted capacity and for violating social distancing requirements.

“Our agents did observe a number of people inside, and  we observed violations,” said OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf. He noted that about 75 people were seen inside by the bar and not following state health department guidelines.

OIU agents also cited four other northeast Ohio bars and restaurants for violating the state’s health order to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

“All those locations were visited after midnight on their respective nights,” Wolf said.  “It was well beyond the cut off at 10 p.m. for 10 p.m. for sale and 11 for consumption, and so all four of those locations were issued a violation of the new emergency rule 80 from the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.”

The bar owners who were cited this weekend, will now have their case heard before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. It will up to the commission to determine if the bar owners should face discipline. 

A dozen liquor permit holders cited a few weeks ago for violating state health guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic are having hearings this week in front of the state liquor control commission.

Luchitas Mexican Restaurant in Cuyahoga County and the Wine Vault in Erie County will have a hearing Tuesday. And four businesses located in the Put-in-Bay area will also have hearings this week.

State officials say they rules are in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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