SALEM — Oregon OSHA announced it has fined a Medford coffee shop $9,250 and a Grants Pass $17,900 for COVID-19 violations.
The state workplace regulator sanctioned Forage Coffee Company for three violations of on-the-job safety standards to protect workers from the coronavirus disease. In one violation, which Oregon OSHA called said the business committed willfully, the business potentially exposed employees to the virus by allowing indoor dining, despite requirements that such capacity be kept to zero to curb transmission of the disease.
The company also came up short in implementing two safety measures that help reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace: facial coverings and physical distancing.
Oregon OSHA initiated its inspection of Forage Coffee in response to multiple complaints about the business. During the inspection, Jacob Terando, an owner of Forage Coffee, said customers entering the establishment in November 2020 during the statewide two-week freeze knew of the restriction against indoor dining, but he left it up to them to decide. The freeze allowed only takeout.
And Gold Miner Restaurant in Grants Pass faces fines totaling $17,900 for violating two standards for protecting employees from COVID-19.
Oregon OSHA fined the restaurant $100 for failing to follow Oregon Health Authority requirements to ensure all workers inside the establishment wore a source control device, such as a mask.
In the other infraction, the employer willfully continued to potentially expose workers to the virus, according to the press release from Oregon OSHA, despite a public health order limiting the capacity of indoor dining to zero in an “extreme risk” county. That resulted in the $17,800 penalty.
The citation resulted from an inspection in response to multiple complaints and a referral from the Josephine County Public Health Department. The inspection documented Gold Miner Restaurant was allowing indoor dining on or about Feb. 14 and continuing to do so afterward until March 12.
Josephine County during that time was in the extreme risk category for transmission of COVID-19. On March 12, the state lowered the county’s risk level to “high.” During the inspection, the restaurant’s owner, Nancie Bowers, said she was aware that allowing indoor dining during the extreme risk period went against workplace health requirements.
Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood imposed a $17,800 penalty for the willful violation, according to the press release. The amount is twice the minimum penalty for such a violation.
Employers have 30 days to appeal citations.