State fines nine more businesses for violating Safe Start orders

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Eight fitness centers in the Yakima area and a tanning salon in Kennewick were fined this week by the state for operating in violation of Governor Jay Inslee’s Safe Start orders.

The fines totaled more than $77,000 for the fitness centers and $9,639 for the tanning salon.

Anytime Fitness in Selah was fined for the second time by L&I. The business has appealed its July 1 fine.

Most of the Yakima fitness centers are Anytime Fitness franchises owned by two different people.

“These employers are putting their employees at unnecessary health risk by remaining open,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director in charge of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). “The Safe Start order is in place to minimize the unnecessary spread of this deadly disease in our communities.”

Slidewaters waterpark in Chelan is the only other business in the state to have been fined by L&I.

That $9,639 fine also has been appealed.

L&I’s Tim Church said the series of fines doesn’t necessarily mean the department is stepping up its enforcement of Inslee’s order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fining a business is part of a sometimes lengthy process, he said.

Church said that when the department receives complaints the potential violators are contacted by phone or email then issued a cease and desist order.

If they still refuse to comply an investigation is opened. He said most businesses comply voluntarily.