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Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials have fined Courthouse Club Fitness $90,000 for defying Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 order and remaining open throughout the two-week freeze.
Officials with OSHA, the agency tasked with enforcing compliance to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, said the penalty is the result of citations against each of the club’s four facilities.
Courthouse officials did not immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday.
“The total penalty for each individual inspection is $22,500,” said Mark Peterson, acting spokesman for OSHA . “That’s a willful penalty of $17,500 for being open to the public and a separate $5,000 penalty for violating the Red Warning Notices that we posted at each location late last week.”
Courthouse Club Fitness in Keizer on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Courthouse Fitness planned to stay open during Gov. Kate Brown’s two-week “freeze,” which directs gyms to close. (Photo: BRIAN HAYES / STATESMAN JOURNAL)
He said Courthouse leadership continued to operate their fitness centers despite OSHA’s inquiries and warnings.
Before the statewide freeze went into effect on Nov. 18, Courthouse owner John Miller said in a statement that a second shutdown would push his business to the breaking point.
More: Judge denies Oregon restaurants’ lawsuit over COVID-19 ‘freeze’ restrictions
“As a result of the harm done to our business from the first shutdown, we will not survive another closure,” Miller said. “This is a horrible position I find myself in, and it leaves me with only one choice. Courthouse Club Fitness will remain open (Nov. 18) and the days to follow.”
New Oregon COVID mandates announced
On Wednesday, Brown said 21 Oregon counties will continue to be under restrictions when a two-week “freeze” expires Dec. 3.
Both Marion and Polk counties are among those 21 “extreme risk” counties.
In the extreme-risk counties, some restrictions will change. Restaurants and bars will be able to reopen for outdoor dining, although the state is still encouraging takeout instead. Capacity limits in stores and malls will be capped at 50%, down from the current 75%. Church activities will be limited to 25% of capacity or 100 people, whichever is smaller.
Guide: What new Oregon restrictions in each COVID-19 risk category mean
Indoor gyms will remain closed.
During the initial freeze, Courthouse and Flex Fitness in Salem stated their intentions to remain open but stressed being in accordance with mandates such as social distancing, wearing masks and rigorous sanitation practices.
“Just because we’re drawing a line doesn’t mean we’re throwing everything out the window in terms of health and safety,” Courthouse vice president Drew Baker told the Statesman Journal.
Oregon OSHA has been fining businesses
Since the beginning of the pandemic, about 50 citations have been issued to businesses for not complying with parts of the pandemic orders by OSHA, which is designed to protect employees.
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