Salem gym fined $126K for ignoring COVID restrictions

Coronavirus

This is the fifth fine against the company for COVID related violations

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Salem gym is facing upwards of $126,000 in fines for staying open despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration is reportedly issuing a $126,749 fine against Capitol Racquet Sports Inc. for “willfully refusing to comply” with the safety restrictions at its Courthouse Club facility in South Salem. According to the Department of Consumer and Business Services, the fine came as a result of an inspection that began after various complaints were made.

This fine is the largest penalty issued by OSHA for COVID-19 related violations. Oregon OSHA said the gym is “willfully continuing to potentially expose employees” to the virus while it continues to operate and welcome members despite the health orders in place for “extreme risk” counties.

“We understand that this employer is attempting to do a number of things to keep employees safe without shutting down, but that does not allow them to substitute their judgment for that of the public health authorities,” Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood said.

This is the fifth fine against the company for COVID related violations. OSHA cited the business’ four facilities back in November 2020, totaling $90,000 in fines.

“It is our expectation that employers follow well-founded health regulations that are directly intended to protect workers from a genuine hazard,” Wood said. “And while we have been able to use engagement and education to resolve most COVID-19 complaints involving employers, we will also continue to bring our enforcement tools to bear as needed.”

The employers will have 30 days to appeal the citations, which they did for the first four in November.

In a statement on its Facebook page, Courthouse Club owner John Miller said he would “support any reasonable request to help in the fight” against the ongoing pandemic, but added, “Voluntarily bankrupting a business my members depend on for their health, and 300 employees depend on for a living, is not reasonable.”

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