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Oregon OSHA fines Grants Pass restaurant nearly $18K for COVID-19 violations

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon OSHA announced Tuesday it has fined the Gold Miner Restaurant in Grants Pass $17,900 for violating two standards designed to protect employees from the coronavirus disease.

In one of the infractions, OSHA said, the employer 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 citation resulted from an inspection launched in response to multiple complaints and a referral from Josephine County Public Health. The inspection documented the fact that Gold Miner Restaurant was willfully allowing indoor dining on or about Feb. 14 and continuing to do so afterward, until March 12.

During that time, Josephine County was designated an “Extreme Risk” for transmission of the coronavirus disease. On March 12, the county’s risk level was lowered from “Extreme” to “High.” During the inspection, the restaurant’s owner, Nancie Bowers, said she was aware that allowing indoor dining during the Extreme Risk period went against workplace health requirements.

Using his discretionary authority under state law, Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood imposed a $17,800 penalty for the willful violation. That is twice the minimum penalty for such a violation. The decision reflects the need to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect where employers insist on disregarding health and safety standards.

Such willful behavior puts employees at risk and enables the employer to achieve a competitive advantage over businesses that comply with the requirements.

“Most employers continue to comply with workplace health and safety standards that are specifically designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Yet, some have insisted on a different path, one that potentially puts workers at risk,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “In those cases, we will continue to seek accountability through our enforcement work.”

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

  • In allowing indoor dining, Gold Miner Restaurant knowingly chose to disregard capacity limitations imposed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for such establishments in a county designated as extreme risk. The willful violation carried a discretionary penalty of $17,800.
  • The employer failed to follow OHA requirements to ensure that all workers inside the establishment wore a source control device, such as a mask, face covering, or face shield. It was a serious violation, carrying a $100 penalty.

Ongoing refusals to correct violations and come into compliance with workplace health and safety standards can lead to additional higher penalties.

Meanwhile, if an Oregon OSHA inspection documents violations while a county is at extreme risk, but the county’s risk level drops before the citation is issued, the citation will still be issued. The change in risk levels may affect how the violation needs to be corrected, but not whether it is cited.

Employers have 30 days to appeal citations.

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers and workers a variety of consultation, information, and education resources addressing COVID-19.


Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to

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  1. Did anyone die from the restaurant? Did anyone catch the scary virus at the restaurant? did anyone spread the virus at the restaurant? If the complaintants were so concerned about why did they enter an establishment they knew nobody was suppose to be inside of? or are they paid to run around and find places they can turn in like some around here?

    1. Soooo much losing!!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!! This is why I voted for Bentz. I knew he would vote against the 29 BILLION dollar aid package for restaurants. They don’t need the money. They can afford these huge fines or they wouldn’t have stayed open DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. So if I drive home drunk, but get pulled over near my home and blow a .1+
      Do I get out of the ticket and don’t have to pay a fine because I didn’t hurt anyone???

      They put people in danger, willingly – fine them…

  2. Oregon OSHA has become a disgrace ! Standard risk analysis states that probability X’s consequences =’s risk… that’s the formula ! So what is the probability of being exposed to the CNA Virus at this restaurant ? Have there been outbreaks before ? Nope- so the probability is low. And the consequences ? 98% survival rate ! Yet Lyin Mikey Woodhead levels a fine twice the minimum penalty ??? Wood needs to resign immediately- the Gold Miner needs to get a Phylagen test and prove to OSHA they are wrong- then reach out for legal advice to stop Kovid Kate and her thugs from ever coming back !

  3. Almost makes me want to barf when I go into stores mask free and I see all these sheep wearing their stupid mask. Pathetic to see so called Americans letting government ruin their lives and them being just as happy as a clam. Everyone who wears a mask should move to California, it’s their style. Greedy government at its best.

    1. I’m sure the feelings are mutual and we’d be happy to see you move to Texas, but how is the government profiting from this? “Greedy” implies there is some monetary incentive, I don’t see this being a revenue generator. Is there a secret mask tariff or something?

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