On April 11, 2020, Cleveland Police issued what may be the first charge against a business owner, for violating the Governor’s Stay-Home Order. Cleveland police entered a beauty shop supply store at approximately midnight, and reportedly found 6 customers inside, and evidence that the store had been receiving supply shipments. Police then cited the store owner with violating the Ohio Stay Home Order, a misdemeanor of the second degree. Under the current order, beauty supply stores are NOT essential businesses permitted to operate. One of the interesting questions is whether the police had the legal authority to enter the shop. If the shop was open to the public, the police likely did not need a search warrant to simply enter. However, if the police came to a locked business, and then demanded entry; there is a legitimate question as to whether a search warrant would be required. There are several exceptions to the search warrant requirement, such as “exigent circumstances”, or a public safety emergency. The police could possibly use these claimed exceptions to justify a warrant less entry. A business owner who finds them self in this unfortunate situation, would be well advised to demand a search warrant before allowing police access. Otherwise, granting consent to enter is a valid exception to the search warrant requirement.
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