L&I sees record caseload as businesses refuse to follow COVID-19 rules

As more businesses refuse to follow Governor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 restrictions, Washington State Labor & Industries reported a record demand for enforcement.

Governor Inslee’s latest round of restrictions is only adding to that workload.

L&I said it’s now getting more than 500 complaints a day about businesses not following the rules.

That’s triple the number of complaints than just a few months ago, according to L&I employees.

“While there may be some very limited support (for noncompliant businesses), there are a lot of people concerned when businesses are not doing the right thing, because they realized it’s putting everyone in jeopardy,” said Tim Church of Washington L&I.

To tackle the increased workload, L&I said it had shifted employees to divisions with particular demand.

“There are still construction sites and warehouses and lots of other jobs that we go around and make sure that workers are being treated right on the job,” Church said.

KIRO 7 learned a diner in Chehalis that made headlines by defying state orders is now facing a hefty fine.

The the owner of Spiffy’s Restaurant in Chehalis will have to pay $67,000 for not following COVID rules.

In a recent interview, Samuelson said he had no regrets about disobeying the governor’s orders.

“The sales yesterday were what I anticipated to be and ended up being about 10 times that. The people that come in are so happy, it’s like their first Christmas or something,” he said in a Dec. 1 interview.

With restrictions now extended until Jan. 4., L&I said it expected even more pushback in this pandemic.

“Everybody’s working hard and we just keep doing it today and get up the next day and do it again,” said Church, adding that the penalties for not following the rules are stiff.

In Spiffy’s case, Samuelson was fined more than $9,000 for every day that they were open for indoor dining.