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4 Oregon businesses fined for ‘willful’ COVID-19 violations

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The State of Oregon said this week it has fined four more businesses a combined $44,600 for what the state considers “willful” violations of regulations meant to protect workers from COVID-19.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health administration has issued 159 citations to employers for violating COVID-19 safety requirements since the pandemic began, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Cork Cellars Wine and Bistro in Sisters was fined $17,800 for willfully allowing indoor dining at a time when it was banned. The restaurant has appealed the fine. Owners Tom and Jeannie Buck told the newspaper they look forward to their day in court.

Last Stop Saloon in The Dalles was issued a $8,900 fine for willfully allowing indoor dining when it was banned. The bar didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but has appealed.

Country Bakery in Halsey was issued a $8,900 penalty for failing to ensure that face coverings were worn and not posting a “COVID-19 Hazards Poster.” Country Bakery has not yet appealed and declined to comment.

Portland’s Creative Woodworking Northwest Inc. was issued a $8,900 fine for willfully failing to ensure that face coverings were worn, according to the state. It has hired a lawyer and appealed the fine.

Hope Redmond, executive administrator for Creative Woodworking Northwest, said some employees cited health concerns related to masks and the business opted to respect those concerns.

Oregon OSHA said Monday that it will lift face covering and distancing rules for businesses and other institutions when 70% of Oregon adults are at least partially vaccinated.