Washington businesses face fines of $10,000 or more for not following coronavirus rules

TUMWATER, Wash. — Businesses in Washington that decide to stay open or operate in violation of Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order and Safe Start plan face fines of $10,000 or more according to new emergency rules filed Wednesday by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

The emergency rules were enacted at the direction of Inslee and are effective immediately.

The rules allow the Department of Labor & Industries to cite businesses for being open or for operating in a way that is “purposely defying the phased-in approach and, as a result, putting their workers at risk,” officials said.

“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,” L&I director Joel Sacks said in a news release. “The coronavirus is a known workplace hazard and businesses must follow the requirements to keep their workers and the public safe.”

State officials said they will work with the state’s Emergency Operations Center to take in and respond complaints about businesses that are operating illegally.

Those who are found to be defying Inslee’s order will be directed to close and/or adjust operations immediately. If they don’t, they will face a workplace safety violation that could carry a fine of $10,000 or more.

Officials said they will also perform in-person spot checks on some of the businesses to make sure they’re following through with the requirements.

“It’s not fair to employers who are following the law when other businesses defy it,” officials said.

Click here to report suspected violations of Inslee’s orders.

Click here for more information from L&I.