Popular Chehalis restaurant fined $67,000 for violating governor’s restrictions

VIDEO: Lewis County restaurant refuses to follow governor's newest order

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The popular Chehalis restaurant that made headlines for defying Governor Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 restrictions is now facing a hefty fine.

Washington Labor and Industries has fined Spiffy’s Restaurant $67,000.

The restaurant was fined $9,200 each day for a week and could continue to rack up fines if it stays open.

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The community has rallied around Spiffy’s, even starting to donate money for any legal fees.

“This is our favorite restaurant,” said patron David Holland.

Rod Samuelson has owned the restaurant for nearly 50 years.

Spiffy’s is known for baked goods, burgers and breakfasts. But this week, everyone’s buzzing about the fact it is back open despite the governor’s most recent restrictions.

“I’m just saying enough is enough,” said Samuelson.

After shutting down for two weeks, Samuelson reopened the restaurant on Monday and was stunned by the turnout.

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

KIRO 7 asked customers about the bold move.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it. I don’t feel like they’re doing something that is going to spread germs or anything like that,” said Ivan Bachman.

“People wear masks. They’re spread apart. Not all the booths are open. So, far as COVID-19 is concerned, I feel comfortable here,” said Holland.

Samuelson said the restaurant increased safety standards when the pandemic began.

“We don’t want anybody to get sick. I don’t agree restaurants are the cause of the this virus being spread. I really don’t. Restaurants, I think most of us, are taking precautions,” he said.

Samuelson said restaurants across the state are following Spiffy’s footsteps. He’s happy to be a leader and said he’s inspired by his employees who’ve been with him for decades.

“The decision to reopen and continue to be in business is for them as well,” said Samuelson. “They’re a family, and I’m so happy to have them.”

If the state comes after him, the 80-year-old said he’s prepared.

“If it comes to that, I’ll deal with it with a plan B. I have a plan B,” he said.