Butler County bar owners confused about health department letters

Some bar owners in Butler County say they were confused by letters they received from the Butler County General Health District alleging they were violating Ohio’s orders regarding bars and restaurants, because they say they did nothing wrong.

In all, 10 letters were sent to area businesses from March 17 to March 27 from the Butler County health department. They ordered five to cease operations and four to limit operations. The department also asked Solid Rock Church to re-consider in-person church services.

C&C Lounge in Ross Twp. and Rick’s Tavern in Hamilton received letters saying they violated the orders, but what they violated was not explained by the Butler County health department. The letters only indicated an alleged violation on March 15, and referenced crowd size limitations and a shutdown of in-store dining.

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Owners for both businesses told the Journal-News they were not told specifics of the complaint, and insist they did not violate any part of Acton’s orders.

Smiley said the health district staff received complaints prior to the March 23 Stay at Home order, and the district’s environmental health division investigated. The health district did not provide the Journal-News with details of the respective complaints.

Doug Getz, Rick’s Tavern co-owner, said he offered a video of the alleged violation but claims the investigators chose not to review it.

Jim Grimes, owner of C&C Lounge, a pub and motel, said there were only a handful of people during the alleged violation date and were closed by 8 p.m. Since then, only maintenance crews have worked, Grimes said.

He also had to lay off his last bar employee on Monday.

“It breaks my heart,” Grimes said. “But I have no money coming in.”

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