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Medford coffee shop fined more than $9,000

Oregon OSHA fined Forage Coffee in Medford $9,250 for “willful” violations of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions

State regulators fined a Medford coffee shop $9,250 for violating Oregon’s coronavirus restrictions that included ignoring the state’s ban on indoor dining for nine days in November.

According to a release from Oregon OSHA, the vast majority of the fine against Forage Coffee Company is because the coffee shop at 529 E. Main Street willfully and knowingly allowed indoor dining during the November “freeze” imposed by Governor Kate Brown that prohibited indoor dining.

Oregon OSHA states in the release that despite knowing about the dining restrictions, the business allowed patrons to eat and drink inside coffee shop between Nov. 18 and 27, and “potentially exposed employees to the virus ... despite requirements that capacity be kept to zero to curb transmission of the disease.”

The state investigated Forage Coffee “in response to multiple complaints about the business,” according to Oregon OSHA.

Forage Coffee owner Jacob Terando reportedly told OSHA investigators that customers dining inside the establishment knew of the state’s restrictions on indoor dining, but “that he was leaving it up to them to decide,” according to the release.

OSHA investigators determined that allowing dining was a “willful violation,” and fined the business $8,900.

The state further issued two $175 fines against Forage Coffee for "serious violations“ that included making sure that all employees and customers wore a mask or face shield ― exceptions allowed for customers younger than five years old ― and that the company failed to develop a workflow that would allow employees to do their job more than six feet apart from others.

The company has 30 days to appeal its citation, according to OSHA.

The state warns that ongoing refusals to comply with workplace health and safety standards risk higher penalties.

Those with complaints about a business can call the Medford field office at 541-776-6030 or visit osha.oregon.gov.