‘Picking on one business’: Butler County bar owner disagrees with state citation

MADISON TWP. — The owner of a Butler County bar cited for serving alcohol after the governor’s 10 p.m. curfew said he doesn’t agree with the mandate and it’s hurting business.

Charles Wilmot, owner of the Madison Inn, 101 S. Front St. in Madison Twp., was one of the 10 owners cited recently after complaints were received of blatant violations of health orders put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Ohio Investigative Unit.

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The Madison Inn, 101 S. Front St., Madison Twp. was cited for serving alcohol after the state mandated 10 p.m. curfew Friday night. Agents said they bought a beer at 11:43 p.m. and there were about 50 people in the bar. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

The Madison Inn, 101 S. Front St., Madison Twp. was cited for serving alcohol after the state mandated 10 p.m. curfew Friday night. Agents said they bought a beer at 11:43 p.m. and there were about 50 people in the bar. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

caption arrowCaption
The Madison Inn, 101 S. Front St., Madison Twp. was cited for serving alcohol after the state mandated 10 p.m. curfew Friday night. Agents said they bought a beer at 11:43 p.m. and there were about 50 people in the bar. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Agents visited the Madison Inn at 11:43 p.m. Friday and purchased a beer. The agents also observed approximately 50 patrons drinking and ordering alcoholic beverages, according to the OIU.

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The bar received an administrative citation for limitation on hours for on-premises consumption.

Gov. Mike DeWine earlier said bars couldn’t serve alcohol after 10 p.m. in hopes of reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Madison Inn is opened from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Wilmot said about 25 percent of his liquor sales occur after 10 p.m. overall and 40 percent on Friday and Saturday nights. Before the curfew, Wilmot said the live bands started playing at 9:30 p.m.

“It seems that the state is picking on one business and that’s us,” he said.

Wilmot said around 10 p.m. it’s common for customers to buy buckets of beer and move the party from the bar to their residences. Wilmot believes the patrons would be safer inside a bar where customers and employees are asked to wear masks.

The Madison Inn opened in 1946 and has been owned by the Wilmot family since 1976.

The other Ohio bars cited are located in Vandalia, Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Mansfield, Youngstown, Coldwater and Ashville.

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

“We continue to work with our law enforcement partners and local health departments following up on complaints to ensure liquor-permitted establishments maintain compliance, so everyone can enjoy a healthy experience,” OIU Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said in a press release. “When egregious violations are observed, enforcement action is taken.”

The OIU is made up of fully sworn, plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio’s alcohol, tobacco and food stamp fraud laws.

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