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Spokane Valley coffee shop fined $126,000 for COVID-19 violations in first three months of 2021; Sacred Heart among businesses cited

Coffee shops, building firms, restaurants, casinos, long-term care services, and a hospital can all be found here.

Some companies in Spokane failed to meet rules during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Since they feared losing sales, some businesses opted to remain open despite the regulations. Others failed to have adequate social distancing for staff or warning signs to consumers about the use of masks.

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) had levied $7.3 million in fines to companies that did not meet COVID-19 rules or mask mandates as of the first week of May. The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board issued 11,836 complaints about bars that disobeyed rules.

L&I issued citations to 25 Spokane companies totalling nearly $174,000 from January to March of this year. Following King County, which cited 26 businesses, the county had the second-highest number of businesses cited during this time period. Pierce County came in third with 19 votes.

“Clearly, Spokane is a tiny slice of the pie,” said L&I spokesman Tim Church.

During that time period, the following companies in Spokane received the most fines:

Cole’s Coffee Shop in Spokane Valley incurred fines totalling more than $126,000.
Huntwood Industries, a Liberty Lake cabinet manufacturer, was fined $6,000 for its actions.
Fairwood Retirement Services issued a fine of $4,800.
None of them responded to a request for comment from The Spokesman-Review.

Church speculated that some of the companies may have contested their citations, which may take a long time to resolve.

According to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, 15 Spokane bars were prosecuted for a COVID-19-related complaint during the state of emergency. The majority received a note, but five received a punishment ranging from $500 to a five-day suspension.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board only deals with establishments that have a liquor licence, such as bars or restaurants.

According to Church, the violations involve failing to post a sign on the door instructing customers to wear a mask and holding indoor dining open when it was not permitted or at a low capacity. Fines were imposed by the day on restaurants and gyms that stayed open when they shouldn’t have.

Until mid-February, Spokane was in Phase 1 of reopening, which kept the county relatively closed. After that, the county went on to Phase 2, which still limited indoor dining to a quarter of its capacity.

General and severe violations are separated into two groups. Both forms may be classified as wilful or non-willful, implying that the company ignores or is unaware of the rules in the first place.

A fee is associated with a serious offence, and if the violation is intentional, the fine increases.

Read more • spokesman.com

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