SALEM, Ore. — A full month after Governor Kate Brown announced that state officials would begin spot checks on businesses to check for compliance with coronavirus mandates, she says that the "vast majority" of businesses have proven to be observing the restrictions.
“We still have a long road ahead of us. Infections continue to rise," Brown said. "But I’d like to thank Oregonians, business owners, and local officials for stepping up to the plate to help make sure we are all wearing face coverings, keeping our physical distance, and working together to keep our friends, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Oregonians safe.”
Inspectors from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) have visited more than 3,600 bars and restaurants since July 4, according to Brown's office. More than 93 percent of those establishments were in compliance with social distancing and face covering requirements.
Of the places found to be out of compliance, most took "corrective measures" after the OLCC contacted them. Only about 1 percent of businesses were forwarded to Oregon OSHA for further investigation.
On Tuesday, the OLCC said that it had suspended the liquor license for the Jammin Salmon, a bar on Rogue River Highway, due to alleged violations of both social distancing and mask requirements — one of the most drastic enforcement measures taken since July 4.
"OLCC inspectors have reported some business owners are continuing to choose not to follow health and safety requirements," Brown's office said. "For those businesses, OLCC has the ability to suspend licenses for failing to follow face covering and physical distancing requirements. OLCC took action yesterday and suspended the liquor license of a Rogue River bar and restaurant."
OSHA has received more than 3,400 coronavirus-related complaints from the public or employees about workplaces since July 4, but only a "small number" proved to be in violation of COVID-19 requirements, Brown's office said.
The agency has done more than 60 inspections based on those complaints, on top of roughly 5,000 uninitiated spot checks — resulting in 14 citations and five "Red Warning Notices." The latter charge applies to willful violations of the state mandates, or when a business refuses to take corrective measures. The Red Warning serves as a mandated closure until the "hazardous condition is remedied."
“Let me be clear: businesses that do not follow the health and safety guidance established by the Oregon Health Authority are putting their employees, their customers, and their communities at risk, risking community-wide closures for other businesses as well if a COVID-19 outbreak starts to spread out of control,” Brown said.