Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has fined a Springfield restaurant more than $9,000 for two violations of restrictions designed to protect people from the coronavirus disease. In one of the violations, Along Came Trudy LLC willfully continued to potentially expose workers to the virus despite a public health order limiting the capacity for indoor dining to zero in an “extreme risk" county.
The total fine of $9,215 is the result of an inspection launched in response to multiple complaints about Along Came Trudy. The inspection was completed and the citation was issued despite attempts to thwart the process, including armed people standing outside the business who threatened regulatory agencies and their staff members.
“It is our expectation that employers comply with public health measures that we know are effective at decreasing the risks to workers and reducing the spread of this disease. And we have been able to resolve most concerns about COVID-19 and the workplace constructively and without formal enforcement visits," said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “However, as this case demonstrates, we will continue to carry out enforcement actions where appropriate and particularly where employers knowingly disregard standards."
Oregon OSHA cited two violations of the division's temporary rule to address COVID-19 risks in the workplace:
- In allowing indoor dining, the restaurant purposely chose to disregard capacity limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for such establishments in a county designated as Extreme Risk. It was a willful violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $8,900.
- The restaurant failed to ensure that all customers inside the establishment (older than age 5 and who were not eating and drinking) wore a source-control device – such as a mask, face covering, or face shield – as spelled out in OHA's statewide reopening guidance. It was a serious violation, carrying a proposed penalty of $315.
The inspection of Along Came Trudy, formally opened on Dec. 21, found the business committing the violations beginning on or about Dec. 3 and continuing to do so afterward.
Multiple visual spot checks conducted before the opening of the inspection confirmed the restaurant was providing indoor dining. And information gathered through news stories, social media posts, and eventually a phone interview with the owner, Trudy Logan, showed that she knew of the prohibition on indoor dining in counties with an extreme risk rating, but willingly chose to continue.
During the inspection, Logan said she asks customers to wear face coverings, but does not enforce the requirement if they refuse to do so.
Employers have 30 days to appeal citations.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers and workers a variety of consultation, information, and education resources addressing COVID-19.