Video shows why Barley House was cited again for violating COVID-19 orders

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– State investigators video released to the FOX 8 I-Team showing why the Barley House in Cleveland was cited for a third time for violating health orders tied to COVID-19.

The new video comes from Saturday as agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit paid another visit to the Barley House, a hot spot in the Warehouse District.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission is considering possible punishment for the first two citations. It held a hearing on those cases Monday.

The video from the latest visit shows almost no one wearing a mask, people crowded close together and even partying on tables.

On Monday, a lawyer for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office played video that led to a citation in September against the Barley House. That video was recorded after a Browns game. Two agents testified.

“There were essentially people everywhere. There was no social distancing at all,” one agent said.

“Bumping into people… Shoulder-to-shoulder… Tapping people to move out the way,” another said.

Despite what can be seen on the videos, a Barley House manager testified the club put up dividers, limited the number of customers and taken other safety precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19. An attorney for the Barley House put an agent on the spot.

“Are you required to maintain 6-feet distance from your other agents when you’re conducting investigations?” the attorney asked.

“We all had masks. And I didn’t want to get lost through the crowd,” the agent responded.

The liquor commission could fine the Barley House, order the doors closed for a short time or even order the place closed for good. The commission has taken a couple of liquor licenses away for breaking rules tied to COVID-19.

“If patrons are so closely congregated, there is more than a risk, serious risk,” said Joseph Schmansky, a lawyer with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The I-Teamalso reached out to the Barley House owners and we did not get a response.

The liquor commission will decide on any punishment for the first two violations likely in a few weeks.

A separate hearing will be scheduled for the latest case.

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