KLAMATH FALLS — A Klamath Falls restaurant landed a hefty fine Friday from state workplace safety officials amid the COVID-19 outbreak for continuing to offer indoor dining. The restaurant was similarly fined last December for the same thing.
Casey’s Restaurant was fined $27,660 by the Oregon Health and Safety Administration for four violations, the agency said.
The family-owned restaurant, which accepted nearly $80,000 in federal pandemic relief, was fined $8,900 over alleged violations in December. Casey’s Restaurant has appealed that fine. Employers have 30 days to appeal citations. It wasn’t immediately known if the owners plan to appeal the latest fine.
Klamath County has experienced high COVID case numbers and no indoor dining was allowed during the inspection period to limit disease transmission.
The restaurant’s fines also included infractions such as not setting up an infection control plan or monitoring employees’ potential exposure to the virus, Oregon OHSA said.
Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, called the citations a “critical part” of his agency’s role in enforcing Oregon’s health and safety rules.
“In the vast majority of cases, we have not had to conduct formal enforcement visits, because most employers are choosing to do the right thing,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “They are doing so because they know they are making meaningful contributions as part of a larger and multi-faceted community effort to end this pandemic sooner rather than later.”
Wood is considering whether to make rules on COVID-19 workplace safety — such as requiring masks and social distancing in businesses — permanent when the temporary rules expire on May 4. He has said that any permanent rules will be repealed once the coronavirus is under control in Oregon and there is no longer a need for them.
— The Associated Press