Bend coffee shop fined $27K over alleged COVID-19 violations
BEND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Occupational Safety & Health has fined a Bend coffee shop more than $27,000 for allegedly violating three standards meant to protect employees from the coronavirus disease.
State officials said in a news release Tuesday that Kevista willfully continued to potentially expose workers to the virus, despite a public health order limiting the capacity of indoor dining to zero.
The citation resulted from an inspection after multiple complaints. The inspection documented that the company willfully began allowing indoor dining on Dec. 3 and thereafter. During that time, Deschutes County was designated an “extreme risk” for transmission of the disease.
During the inspection, owners Krista and Kevin Lauinger said they chose to re-open even though they were aware it went against workplace health requirements, state officials said.
The coffee shop plans to appeal the fine, KTVZ-TV reported.
The fine is three times the minimum penalty for such a violation and the decision reflects the need to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect where employers insist on disregarding health and safety standards, according to Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood.
Such behavior puts employees at risk and enables the employer to achieve a competitive advantage over businesses that comply with the requirements, officials said.
Last July, OSHA issued an $8,900 citation to Kevista for willfully failing to implement face coverings in line with guidance for restaurants and bars. Kevista’s appeal of that fine is still pending, the agency said.