Zip’s Drive-In fined for mask mandate violations

Drive-in appealed fine; Zip’s in Spokane Valley, Ritzville also fined

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

Zip’s Drive-In in Colfax was fined $1,800 by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries for three violations regarding the governor’s public health orders.

The restaurant did not require customers without masks to wear one and did not have any visible signs that required customers to wear masks, according to the release from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The business also allegedly did not put any social distancing markers for customers. 

Zip’s has appealed the fine, according to the release.

L&I respond to complaints about public health violations that are made by workers at the businesses in question, according to the release. 

Two other Zip’s Drive-In restaurant locations — one in Spokane Valley and one in Ritzville — were also fined by the state, according to the release. The location in Spokane Valley also appealed the fine. 

“In most of the other L&I cases, the department’s investigators visit the business anonymously,” the release reads. “If investigators find the complaints are valid, staff contact employers to inform them of public masking requirements. At that point, most businesses agree to follow the rules.” 

The state Emergency Operation Center’s coronavirus reporting website received thousands of complaints regarding mask issues from businesses across Washington state, according to the release. 

Since mid-July, L&I has conducted more than 4,300 checks at businesses from across the state. Eight state businesses were found violating the mask mandate and “endangering their workers’ health,” according to the release. Three other businesses were cited because employees violated mask mandates. 

“Wearing masks helps protect workers and others by reducing exposure to the virus in our communities so we can reduce fatalities and the impact to our health care system,” said Anne Soiza, L&I assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, in the release.