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WA businesses violating Gov.’s orders may be cited and fined

Business closed reader board message during COVID-19 closures (April 17, 2020). Photo: My Ferndale News

Washington businesses who open or operate in violation of Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order may be cited and fined for unsafe workplace conditions under emergency rules filed today, May 26th, by the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

The state is currently in Phase 1 of Inslee’s Safe Start plan. Some counties have been authorized to move into Phase 2.

The emergency rules, enacted at the direction of the Governor, take effect immediately. They give the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) the authority to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is purposely defying the phased-in approach and, as a result, putting their workers at risk.

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (May 26, 2020)

According to today’s announcement, L&I will respond to complaints to the state Emergency Operations Center about businesses reported to be operating in violation of the emergency order. If employers are found to in violation of the Governor’s order, they’ll be directed to close or adjust their business operations immediately. If violations continue the business could face a workplace safety citation and a fine of $10,000 or more.

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Enforcement by L&I will be performed by contacting businesses by phone and in writing according to the announcement. In addition, L&I will perform in-person spot checks on some contacted businesses to ensure they come into compliance.

L&I’s role will complement efforts by the Liquor and Cannabis Board and other state licensing and permitting agencies according to today’s announcement.

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