Oregon restaurant gets nearly $18,000 fine for ‘willful’ violation of COVID-19 rules

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This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. (NIAID-RML via AP)

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A Grants Pass diner was fined almost $18,000 Tuesday for what state regulators called a “willful” violation of COVID-19 rules.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health said Gold Miner Restaurant allowed indoor dining on or about Feb. 14 at a time when it was illegal and continued to do so illegally for almost a month, The Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

The agency says Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood exercised his discretionary authority under state law to issue a $17,800 fine — double the minimum penalty for such a violation. A fine of $100 also was issued for a mask violation.

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, the news release said.

It wasn’t immediately known if the restaurant owner plans to appeal the fine.

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