An Enumclaw business was one of several to receive a fine from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries due to a lack of mask use by customers and staff.
According to a press release, L&I has looked into mask complaints against “more than 4,200 retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the state” since mid July.
One of those businesses was Mail Express Business Center off Griffin Avenue. The business was fined $7,500 for four violations: “Customers not wearing masks and within 6 feet of workers; no signs requiring customers wear masks and no policy if they refused; workers not wearing masks and within 6 feet of each other. Owner stated she did not enforce masking because she did not want to be an unpaid agent of the government,” the press release reads.
The $7,500 fine was the heaviest levied against any of the 11 businesses listed by L&I, which also included Auburn’s Country Square Western Wear, which was fined $1,800 for two violations.
According to L&I, fines are not given out often.
“In the vast majority of cases, the businesses that were violating the rules complied after L&I staff explained the requirements, or the initial complaints to the state were not substantiated,” the press release reads.
The investigation process often begins with L&I sending an anonymous worker to the business to investigate complaints.
“If investigators find the complaints are valid, staff contact employers to inform them of public masking requirements,” the press release continued. “At that point, most businesses agree to follow the rules. Uncooperative companies receive a warning letter saying they could be cited if they continue to break the law.”
According to L&I Director of Communications Tim Church, businesses that are fined have 15 days to appeal after they received notice.
“The appeal typically comes back to L&I for reconsideration,” Church continued. “If L&I does not change its decision, it can be appealed to a higher level.”
The Courier-Herald contacted Mail Express for comment, but did not receive a return call by press deadline.