California issued millions in COVID fines, local businesses work to pay it off

Local businesses have been working to achieve economic recovery, but one setback for many is COVID-19 related fines.

As of April 2021, California’s workplace safety agency ordered $4.6 million in fines for nearly 200 workplaces for not complying with COVID-19 protocols.

“I defied the shutdown order and I did it publicly, as sort of a protest… We were suffering as a business. We would’ve lost the business had we complied with the order,” said Vino Et Amicis Wine Bar Owner Kurt Hixenbaugh.

Since the start of the pandemic, inspectors with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal-OSHA, were responsible for keeping a close eye on businsses to maintain COVID-19 safety.

“Being compliant, following all the rules like we were doing all at that point, our business was down 75-80%, so we were barely hanging on. And to shut us down completely. Well, we’re done,” Hixenbaugh said.

Like many other businesses, Vino Et…

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