Pawpurr's Bar

Dozens of bar patrons, many without masks, waiting for entry at Pawpurrs the night it was cited. Photo by Ben Peters.

An Athens Bar was cited Saturday by a division of The Ohio State Highway Patrol for violating public health requirements the previous night.

Pawpurr’s Bar received an administrative citation for disorderly activity after the Athens Police Department received a complaint of a large crowd at the bar, according to a news release.

State agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), which investigates suspected illegal activity in bars, were summoned after receiving complaints of “blatant violations” to public health orders.

They entered Pawpurr’s and witnessed more than 40 patrons standing at the bar either consuming alcohol or waiting to purchase drinks.

“The groups standing at the bar were three patrons deep, shoulder to shoulder with no social distancing, and not wearing masks,” the release said.

Authorities also saw patrons walking around freely while drinking and intermixing with other group’s tables and at the bar. Bars are required under a state order to maintain at least six feet of distance between parties while they wait to be seated and while seated.

OIU agents explained to employees the violations and the corrective action needed to prevent future citations.

“We see that most of the permit premises are following the precautions put in place to make their establishments safe and they are complying with the directives,” OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said in the release. “As agents continue to conduct compliance checks they take enforcement action when egregious violations like these are observed.”

Stephen’s On Court, The Crystal and The CI all received administrative citations earlier in August for flouting public health orders as the result of an investigation conducted by OIU into a fatal crash that occurred on the Fourth of July.

During their investigation into the crash, authorities watched surveillance video captured at all three bars and were able to determine each had violated Ohio Department of Health orders on the night of the crash, according to a news release issued at the time.

Each of these cases will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for potential penalties, including fines and/or the suspension or revocation of liquor permits.

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