GENEVA-ON-THE-LAKE — Two local bars were cited Friday night for violating the state’s health and safety regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pavilion Bar and Grill and the High Tide Tavern, both at Geneva-on-the-Lake, received citations from undercover agents with the Ohio Investigative Units in Columbus.

The Pavilion, 5266 Lake Road East, was cited for improper conduct — disorderly activity. Undercover agents visited the establishment and saw up to 100 people on the dance floor and other areas with no social distancing or physical barriers in place.

The High Tide Tavern, 5504 Lake Road East, also received a citation for improper conduct — disorderly activity and limitation of hours for sales and on-premises consumption of alcohol. Undercover agents found up to 60 people tightly packed in a large group around the bar. There was no social distancing or physical barriers in place. Additionally, agents saw staff serving alcohol as late as 10:55 p.m. to patrons.

The High Tide did not return a phone call from the Star Beacon, but at the Pavilion, a man who did not want to give his name, said he’s there to make money.

“We are only open three months of the year,” he said. “Why don’t [the OIU agents] come when we’re empty? Saturday was the best day I’ve had all season.”

Since mid-March, the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) has made more 16,000 visits, issued 122 warnings and 144 citations to liquor permit establishments, according to the OIU website.

The street-clothed agents drive unmarked cars as they check out complaints from local health departments and the general public.

If a citation is issued, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission holds a virtual hearing. Penalties can range from fines to revoking a liquor license.

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