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Spiffy’s, defiant Lewis County diner, closes

The state fined the owner more than $400,000 over COVID-19 violations.

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. — A restaurant owner who defied COVID-19 restrictions, racking up fines, could not survive the pandemic.

Rod Samuelson, owner of Spiffy’s, said his diner closed for good on Sunday.

Samuelson said he owned and operated the restaurant for more than 50 years.

The roadside diner, located just off I-5 south of Chehalis, continued to serve customers in its indoor dining room last December, defying a state order that required restaurants to only offer outdoor seating or take-out service.

Samuelson said he is appealing the more than $400,000 in fines he received from the state for keeping his dining room open.

“The governor’s not done with me,” Samuelson said.

He said he’s closing the restaurant not because of the fines, but because of slow deliveries of food, supplies and a lack of workers.

“You just can’t find employees,” Samuelson said.

The state lifted its COVID-19 restrictions at the end of June, following months of limiting capacity at restaurants. 

Since then, The CDC and state officials have recommended people - vaccinated against COVID-19 or not - wear masks indoors to help prevent the spread of the delta variant. Some bars and restaurants are now requiring people prove they are vaccinated, though that is not a mandate handed down from the state.

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