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Spokane businesses make up one-third of those fined for recent COVID-19 violations across Washington

Volunteer Jennifer Semenza, communication manager at Providence, distributes face masks to a small business owner during a drive-thru PPE distribution on June 30, at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has fined three businesses in Spokane following complaints about employees not wearing masks during the past two months.   (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Volunteer Jennifer Semenza, communication manager at Providence, distributes face masks to a small business owner during a drive-thru PPE distribution on June 30, at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. The Washington Department of Labor & Industries has fined three businesses in Spokane following complaints about employees not wearing masks during the past two months.  (Colin Mulvany/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries released the names of the nine businesses the department has fined in the past two months for masking violations, and Spokane businesses make up a third of the list.

Spokane is also the only city with more than one business fined in the past two months, according to the L&I news release.

L&I has investigated thousands of complaints about masking violations since July, according to the news release, and most companies, when contacted, agreed to follow requirements without the state taking formal action. A small number did not, the release said.

Nine of those companies have been fined.

In Spokane, Hot Toddy’s Coffee was fined $3,000 for employees not wearing masks or social distancing. Hot Toddy’s was reported 13 times between July and October, according to records of Safe Start violation reports requested by The Spokesman-Review.

L&I also issued a fine of $1,800 to Second Wind Espresso Inc., which had been reported three times between July and September for the same reason, though the business has appealed. L&I also handed down a $1,200 fineto The Ugly Duck Inc. materials warehouse, reported once in July and again in August for employees not wearing masks.

L&I has cited 20 businesses for mask violations since July as a result of complaints that come through the state Emergency Operations Center, and a few public complaints that came directly to the agency. But many regular inspections can also result in COVID-19 citations, even if no one has formally complained, the release said.

A lack of masking is just one possible violation. L&I is also looking into complaints about businesses that are not supposed to be open or are required to limit service under the governor’s proclamations, the release said.

BK Sports LLC, which operates as Altitude Trampoline Park in Spokane, has been cited for “actively operating in violation of the governor’s order,” for which the park faces a penalty of $9,639. Altitude was reported at least eight times between September and November.

Altitude has distributed flyers with the title “Help us save Altitude,” saying the family-owned business was shut down from March to September. After reopening, Altitude has received letters and inspection from L&I, and the agency has “threatened large fines and even jail time if we decide to remain open” the flyer reads.

According to the flyer, the business is “fully in compliance” and operating under the Phase 2 and Phase 3 Indoor Fitness and Training COVID-19 reopening requirements. According to the L&I news release, trampoline parks are considered entertainment or recreation facilities and are not allowed to be open during Phase 2 of the Safe Start order.

A QR code on the flyer allows people to sign the petition.

“This is a battle we cannot do alone,” the flyer reads. “We have started to petition to save this family’s business.”

Hot Toddy’s and Second Wind Espresso could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday. The Ugly Duck Inc. and Altitude did not immediately respond to messages.

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