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Restaurants Fined, But Are There Any Cases?
Are we still following science, or are we just winging it?

As restaurants struggling to stay open and make ends meet, they have been met with fines in the tens of thousands of dollars from the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Governor Brown has been using both Oregon OSHA and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission as enforcement agents for establishments that step out of line with her COVID-19 restrictions, though they are referred to as guidelines.

One would think that if there were several cases of COVID-19 arising from the operation of these restaurants -- either in the worker population or in the public -- that the executive branch would have made this public, so as to justify their heavy-handed actions, to discourage other restaurants and bars from also trying to open, as well as to keep the public away. However they have not, which seems to indicate that there have not been cases arising from restaurants and bars. The Oregon Health Authority has a wealth of data on age, gender, ethnicity and race statistics for COVID-19 cases, but very little data shown for how cases are contracted, such as from a restaurant.

When asked by the Northwest Observer if any illnesses were traced back to the Firehouse Restaurant, Aaron Corvin, public information officer for the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which is the home of the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration said, "Our penalties are not based on the actual outcomes but on the risks represented by the underlying violation. In that way, for example, a machine guarding violation would carry the same penalty after all the appropriate factors were considered – whether or not it resulted in an employee injury in that particular situation.”

Oregon OSHA's motto is "Improving workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers" which means that they do not have explicit jurisdiction over general public safety.

As an additional point, it would not be ethical to, say, have some restaurants and bars open up in order to test whether or not COVID-19 would spread due to their activity. Yet, because some establishments have skirted the guidelines, we have just such data available. It would seem that the lack of cases is strong evidence that they are not spreaders.




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-02-26 07:52:40Last Update: 2021-02-25 15:21:37



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