KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Casey's Restaurant in Klamath Falls faces almost $28,000 in fines from Oregon OSHA after the agency said it fell "well short of workplace safety standards" for coronavirus.
According to OSHA, Casey's "willfully" remained open for indoor dining while the county was under Extreme Risk restrictions. The agency said that this is the second time that the restaurant has been cited for a similar violation of public health orders, having been fined $8,900 after an inspection in December.
“Since the pandemic began, we have focused our efforts on engaging and educating employers about expectations. 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. “Yet, a critical part of Oregon OSHA’s longstanding mission is to enforce workplace health and safety standards. And we will continue to fulfill that mission when employers refuse to address credible complaints or continue to insist on ignoring reasonable safeguards for their employees.”
OSHA said that the most recent citation stemmed from an inspection prompted by complaints and a referral from Klamath County Public Health. The inspection found that the restaurant allowed indoor dining from December 17 through February 11.
Wood imposed a $26,700 for the penalty — three times the minimum for this kind of violation.
"The decision reflects the need to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect where employers insist on disregarding health and safety standards," OSHA said. "Such willful behavior puts employees at risk and enables the employer to achieve a competitive advantage over businesses that comply with the requirements."
Employers have 30 days to appeal an OSHA citation. The agency said that Casey's citation from December remains in the appeals process.