‘It is what it is’: Kevista owner to appeal $27K OSHA fine for COVID violations

A Bend coffee shop that flouted COVID restrictions by allowing indoor dining and not requiring face coverings has been fined $27,470 by Oregon OSHA.

Kevista Coffee was fined after an inspection showed they were violating three standards to protect employees from COVID, according to a statement from OSHA.

“In one of the violations, the company willfully continued to potentially expose workers to the virus, despite a public health order limiting the capacity of indoor dining to zero in an “extreme risk” county,” the statement continues.

OSHA launched its investigation into the coffee shop after multiple complaints.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

▶️ Bend coffee shop not enforcing masks, allowing indoor seating

The inspection found that the business was wilfully allowing indoor dining beginning in early December while Deschutes County was at the state’s highest level for virus transmission.

“During the inspection, the owners of Kevista – Krista and Kevin Lauinger – said they chose to re-open the coffee shop even though they were aware that it went against workplace health requirements,” said Aaron Corvin, public information officer for Oregon OSHA.

The $26,700 penalty handed down by OSHA Administrator Michael Wood is three times the minimum penalty for such a violation.

“Through engagement and education, we’ve helped many employers understand and follow on-the-job health and safety rules during the pandemic. And most employers have chosen – and continue to choose – doing the right thing as we work to defeat this disease in Oregon,” Wood said. “As for the vocal few who insist on defying standards and putting their workers at risk, we will continue to bring our enforcement tools to bear.”

OHSA has received more than 20,000 complaints and issued 94 COVID-related citations across the state.

Only one fine – $126,749 for a Salem fitness center – has been higher than Kevista’s. (You can see a full list of businesses cited here.)

On Tuesday, Kevin Lauinger told Central Oregon Daily News “it is what it is,” and they will appeal the fine.

Inside the coffee shop, none of the employees behind the counter were wearing masks.

OSHA fines Salem fitness center $126K for ‘willfully’ violating COVID rules

Altogether, Oregon OSHA cited three violations of the division’s temporary rule to address COVID-19 risks in the workplace:

  • In allowing indoor dining, Kevista Coffee knowingly chose to disregard capacity limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for such establishments in a county designated as extreme risk. It was a willful violation, carrying a discretionary penalty of $26,700.
  • The company failed to develop and implement an infection control plan. Such a plan could include redesigning the workspace to enable physical distancing and reducing the use of shared surfaces and tools. It was a serious violation, carrying a penalty of $385.
  • The company did not conduct any COVID-19 risk assessment to identify potential employee exposure to the virus and to address how to reduce such exposure. It was a serious violation, carrying a penalty of $385.

This is not the first time Oregon OSHA has cited Kevista Coffee for COVID violations.

In July 2020, the division issued an $8,900 citation to the company for willfully failing to implement face-covering requirements.

Employers have 30 days to appeal citations.

 

 

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