Cafe Bend fined $ 27,000 for alleged COVID-19 violations

BEND – Oregon Occupational Safety & Health has fined a Bend cafe more than $ 27,000 for allegedly violating three standards meant to protect employees from coronavirus disease.

State officials said in a press release on Tuesday that Kevista was deliberately continuing to potentially expose workers to the virus, despite a public health order limiting the capacity of meals inside to zero.

The citation is the result of an inspection after several complaints. The inspection documented that the company deliberately began allowing indoor dining on December 3 and thereafter. Meanwhile, Deschutes County has been designated an “extreme risk” for disease transmission.

During the inspection, owners Krista and Kevin Lauinger said they chose to reopen even though they knew it went against workplace health requirements, officials said of State.

The cafe plans to appeal the fine, KTVZ-TV reported.

The fine is three times the minimum penalty for such a violation and the ruling reflects the need to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect when employers insist on failing to meet health and safety standards, according to Michael Wood, the administrator. of Oregon OSHA.

Such behavior puts employees at risk and allows the employer to gain a competitive advantage over companies that comply with the requirements, officials said.

Last July, OSHA awarded Kevista a citation of $ 8,900 for willfully failing to implement face covers in accordance with guidelines for restaurants and bars. Kevista’s appeal for this discovery is still pending, the agency said.

The state continued to receive complaints about the coffee after being fined in July. Between December 30 and January 5 alone, five people complained to Oregon OSHA that the cafe did not require masks or physical distancing. One complaint noted that the cafe was asking for donations to help it fight Oregon OSHA, according to state records.

“Blatant disregard for declared government orders and the health and safety of customers is insulting,” wrote another complainant. “No employee had a mask, nor any of the restaurant’s customers. … The interior space was filled with people conversing and dining freely without masks or worrying about distance.

Kevista coffee is among at least 31 companies who were cited by Oregon OSHA for violating state regulations to stop the spread of COVID-19 and also accepted potentially repayable loans from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress created last March to help companies keep workers on the payroll and cover other expenses during the pandemic. The cafe received a federal relief loan of $ 32,185.

–The Associated Press

Jamie Goldberg of The Oregonian / OregonLive contributed to this report.


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