Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Ohio Made Good On Its Threat to Pull a Bar's Liquor License for Repeated COVID-19 Safety Violations

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2020 at 3:05 PM

  • Mark Turnauckas/FlickrCC
After multiple violations witnessed firsthand by agents over the course of the month of August, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission announced this week its decision to pull the liquor license of the Highland Tavern in Akron. It's the first Buckeye state establishment to receive the dubious honor.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine had previously said that establishments that flout COVID-19 safety guidelines — including proper social distancing, masks and a 10 p.m. last call — might be subject to having their license revoked by the state.

The Highland Tavern ran afoul of just about every guideline. Agents found the bar serving far past the 10 p.m. curfew, and on at least one occasion had staff tell them they simply wouldn't stop serving, despite the agents' presence. Investigators also found repeated violations of social distancing guidelines and found that staff frequently didn't wear masks.

Four citations have been issued thus far. Highland's had a hearing before the commission on the first three. reported the following sign has been hanging in the bar's front window this week:

“Please be advised that several of our employees, for health and/or safety reasons, are not required to wear a face covering. Those in our lovely government have ordered all persons entering indoor facilities to wear a mask. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are exempt from this order. Due to HIPAA and the 4th amendment, we cannot legally ask you about your medical condition. Therefore, if we see you without a mask, we will assume you have a medical condition and we will welcome you inside to support our business.”

Per the state's order, Highland will no longer be legally allowed to serve alcohol come the end of business on Oct. 2.

Tags: , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation