Diner Closes: Fined $400K for Violating COVID-19 Rules Closes Permanently

The Washington eatery was once referred to as "Flashpoint for COVID Rebellion" by local news outlets


A 50-year-old diner in Washington that received multiple fines for violating COVID-19 rules closed permanently over the weekend.

On social media, the establishment said it was staff shortages and food delivery problems -not the fines – that caused them to have to shut down.

Spiffy’s Restaurant and Bakery “continued to stay open for indoor dining at the peak of the pandemic, defying a state order that required restaurants to only offer outdoor or take-out service,” says Today.

Ultimately, the diner was charged over $400,000 in fines by the state Department of Labor & Industries. The Chronicle says “In an attempt to fend off enforcement, armed protesters staked out in front of the establishment for days.”

Local officials who voiced support for the diner included Sheriff Rob Snaza and Winlock Mayor Brandon Svenson.

A Facebook post from the now-closed restaurant’s account said owner Rod Samuelson employed 30 people at the popular diner at I-5 and Highway 12. The  Lewis County restaurant is famous for its pies, cinnamon rolls, and coffee, according to Komo News.

The 81-year-old says “the state has cut his penalties in half to $240,000. He says the Attorney General’s office indicated it would forego the fines altogether, but the Governor won’t relent.”

In an attempt from the state to keep Spiffy’s dining room closed, the restaurant had been served a restraining order in January.

At the hearing, Judge Chris Lanese told Samuelson, “Failure to [comply] may result in an order or finding of contempt, which can result in fines or penalties up to $2,000 per day, could include jail time, could include the bringing of charges for a gross misdemeanor, amid other consequences.”

Spiffy’s closed following Lanese’s order. The restraining order was dismissed on January 20th but could be reinstated if Spiffy’s opened for more than just take-out only or outdoor dining. 

The attorney for Spiffy’s told the judge that employees signed off on wanting to continue to work.  He also stated that patrons acknowledged the restaurant is extra clean; cleaner than Costco and Walmart,” reports KXL.

With the closure of his restaurant, Samuelson plans to divest the contents of the restaurant and spend his time volunteering and fishing. 

It has been estimated that over 400,000 small businesses closed during the first three months of the global pandemic.

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9 responses to “Diner Closes: Fined $400K for Violating COVID-19 Rules Closes Permanently”

  1. Smknjoe78 says:

    Diner Closes: Fined $400K for Violating COVID-19 Rules and Closes Permanently or Diner Closes: Fined $400K for Violating COVID-19 Rules Permanently Closes would be better headlines.

  2. Sinn13 says:

    Spiffys was an institution here, great food, excellent service and the testicular fortitude to tell Gov. Dimslee to shove it up his ass. We were sad to hear they closed.

  3. RichieRich3 says:

    and the plebs get rolled again….with but a whimper from the masses….

  4. MadManTV says:

    Send notifications when articles are published

  5. Wolv256 says:

    Well, as long as we’re just issuing illegal unconstitutional rules, I fine the CDC $3 million. Send it to my home address. Failure to comply will result in 15 yrs in jail. I hereby decree it.

  6. Caleb_Fowler666 says:

    The governor should be fined!!! What a dick

  7. kriss4tigers says:

    They should have sued, I don’t think it was law..

  8. Tom Collins says:

    I have many happy memories of Spiffy”s on my many trips between Portland and Seattle. It was a good half-way point to stop and rest. Good food and happy people. I will miss them. My best wishes to Spiffy’s owner Rod Samuelson.

  9. NobodyYouKnow says:

    Would like to read more from the owner about labor shortages and delivery problems, but this is an example of the hollowing out of the middle class.