The agents are part of the Ohio Investigative Unit, which is made up of plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws.
Along with looking for criminal activity, the officers now are tasked with watching for potential violations of the state’s health order for restaurants and bars to safely operate during the coronavirus pandemic.
The agents can issue administrative citations, which could lead to a hearing with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. Possible penalties include fines, suspensions or even revoking a business’ liquor permit.
“We just don’t know the compliance rate out there,” Ohio Investigative Unit Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said. “We certainly expect that a vast majority of the places we visit will be in compliance and do what they have to do.”