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Washington businesses violating Gov. Inslee's order could face $10,000 fine

The state Department of Labor and Industries says businesses defying the stay-home order could be cited and fined for unsafe workplace conditions.

Editor's note: The above video was published at an earlier date when some local businesses were operating in defiance of the stay-home order

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington businesses that decide to stay open or operate in defiance of Gov. Jay Inslee's stay-home order could face a hefty fine, according to the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). 

Under emergency rules that went into effect on Tuesday, those businesses could be cited and fined for unsafe workplace conditions. The rules give L&I the authority to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is purposely defying the statewide reopening plan and, as a result, putting their workers at risk. 

“We’re all in this together, and most businesses are doing the right thing for our state and our communities. Unfortunately, there are some that are choosing not to,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “The coronavirus is a known workplace hazard and businesses must follow the requirements to keep their workers and the public safe.”

L&I will work with the state Emergency Operations Center to take in and respond to complaints about businesses that are operating illegally.

Employers that are defying the governor’s order will be informed, and directed to close or adjust operations immediately. If they do not, they’ll face a workplace safety citation that could carry a fine of nearly $10,000 or more.

Along with contacting businesses by phone and in writing, L&I will perform in-person spot checks on some of the businesses to make sure they are following through with requirements outlined by Inslee. 

Leaders with L&I say the department's role will complement efforts by the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and other state licensing and permitting agencies.

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