The Massive Amount Of Money One Diner Was Fined For Ignoring COVID Protocols

As the pandemic forced state governments to place restrictions on how life was lived in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, everyone had to change their daily activities. Many businesses had to temporarily shift their operations to meet the restrictions, too. However, some businesses chose to defy the restrictions and said establishments must now face heavy consequences.

It's no doubt that the restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Limitation on in-person and indoor dining, changes in demand as customers stayed home and ordered take-out, and shifts in labor requirements and work procedures all played a part. According to Statista, food and beverage establishments lost $130 billion in sales between March and October 2020, compared to the previous year. Also, between February and November 2020, 2.1 million industry jobs were lost. As of December 2020, 110,000 restaurants in the United States had closed permanently or long-term.

With such a heavy burden to bear, some restaurants, including Spiffy's Restaurant and Bakery in Washington state, did attempt to defy restrictions. Now, as some restaurants return to more normal operations, Spiffy's faces fines — and dire consequences — for its defiant decision.

Huge fines for Spiffy's Restaurant and Bakery

Spiffy's Restaurant and Bakery in Lewis County, Washington, defied the state's restrictions on the restaurant industry throughout the height of the pandemic. According to TODAY, despite requirements in Washington state that all restaurants only provide outdoor and take-out service, Spiffy's continued to serve customers indoors. This led to a total of over $400,000 in fines being levied against the restaurant.

Now, Spiffy's is closing permanently after 50 years of service. They announced owner Rod Samuelson's decision to close the restaurant in a statement released on their Facebook page. The post attributes the decision to labor shortages and supply chain issues, not to the fines. The post claims the troubles hiring employees and delivery drivers are due to increased unemployment benefits that discourage people from finding work. However, findings published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago claim that people who have recently begun receiving unemployment benefits are actually more likely to search for work.

According to Samuelson in the statement, the fines have since been reduced to $240,000 by the Washington State Attorney General.