Avalon, a downtown Columbus bar and nightclub, received a citation from the Ohio Investigative Unit Saturday, Sept. 19, after it was found in violation of health orders meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Agents visited the establishment and observed more than 100 patrons congregating in large groups throughout the premises with no social distancing measures in place,” read a press release from the OIU.
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Avalon was cited for improper conduct – disorderly activity, which encompasses violations of the Ohio Department of Health orders. According to the release, the case will be heard by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. Penalties in similar cases have ranged from a fine of $1,000 up to a temporary suspension or permanent revocation of the establishment’s liquor license, depending on the severity of the case.
“The Commission considers all relevant factors, including the nature of the violation, the seriousness of the offense, the facts of the case, the permit holder’s prior record, if any, as well as any other relevant information, including any mitigation evidence presented by the permit holders,” Sarah Creedon, executive director of the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, said in an email.
Two other Ohio bars were cited Saturday night: Vivid Cocktail Lounge in Maple Heights and Tavern Off Broadway in Bedford.
OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said Avalon was reported anonymously by a member of the general public. Concerned citizens looking to report an establishment that they believe is in violation of health orders can contact a district office of the OIU. Contact information can be found on the OIU website.
“The Ohio Investigative Unit has done hundreds of checks across Ohio since March when all of this started, and the vast majority of locations are compliant,” Wolf said. “They’re doing everything they can to provide a safe environment for their patrons to return, and it’s just some of these outliers that are receiving the citations.”
Avalon could not be reached for comment regarding the citation.