LONGVIEW — A now-closed Longview restaurant never paid fines for breaking state COVID rules in 2021 and another Longview eatery is continuing to appeal similar fees.
Both Creekside Cafe and Stuffy’s II were fined for offering indoor dining during the state ban that ran from mid-November to Feb. 13 of that year.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee banned indoor dining in spring 2020 and fall 2021 to protect Washingtonians from the airborne coronavirus.
Washington Department of Labor and Industries Communications Consultant Dina Lorraine said Creekside Cafe had not paid its fine balance of $74,260 as of Aug. 16.
The restaurant, previously at 1323 Commerce Ave., was cited seven times as of May 2021 for violations that occurred when indoor dining was banned in February 2021 in Washington, Lorraine previously told The Daily News.
At that time, Creekside Cafe owner Danielle Rowley said she was appealing the fines. Rowley could not be reached for comment about the update.
Lorraine said Labor and Industries, which regulates and enforces labor standards, filed warrants, which are liens on property, and levied banks, but was not able to receive payment. She said the debt generates monthly interest and remained outstanding as of Aug. 16.
Creekside Cafe closed in November 2021 after Rowley purchased the long-standing eatery in 2020. She told The Daily News she attributed the closure to issues like the inability to receive some government COVID relief; a state backlog to be issued a liquor license; and an extended closure when she expanded into the building next door to hold events.
Rowley still runs Bear Country Catering in Kalama, according to the company’s website.
Stuffy’s II, 804 Ocean Beach Hwy., is still on appeal in Cowlitz County Superior Court for its balance of $957,600, Lorraine said. The next hearing is set for Oct. 25, she added.
The business, which is still open and originally founded in 1988, quickly garnered support after the fines were placed.
Stuffy’s II supporters held “Stand with Stuffy’s” rallies in the parking lot of the Hall of Justice in Kelso before three of the business’s postponed court hearings in early 2021. Rally participants, which ranged from about 30 to 200, voiced their opposition to restrictions Inslee placed on businesses.
Stuffy’s II, which is owned by Bud and Glenda Duling, was cited for 53 infractions and fined $954,000 over nearly two months during the state’s indoor dining ban, according to state records.
The Washington State Attorney General’s Office filed a restraining order Dec. 31, 2020, against Stuffy’s to prevent staff from defying the indoor dining ban. The office dropped the motion, as well as fines for contempt of court, when that indoor dining ban was lifted.
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