EASTERN WASHINGTON — Operators of eight fitness centers in Eastern Washington face fines totaling more than $77,000 for being open in violation of the state’s Safe Start order.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently cited the companies for potentially exposing employees to the coronavirus under Gov. Jay Inslee’s Safe Start plan to reopen business.

Most of the gyms are Anytime Fitness franchises owned by two separate entities. It’s the second time in a month that one of the facilities, Anytime Fitness Selah, has been cited and fined.

Three citations to one employer; four to another one
L&I has cited Bradshaw Development Inc. for operating the Selah location, along with Anytime Fitness gyms in Union Gap and Yakima, when inspectors found all three open on July 15.

The three fines total $28,917. That’s on top of the initial citation and fine of $9,639 for the Selah gym violation in June. Bradshaw is appealing that citation.

L&I also issued four citations to Fit City NW LLC for operating Anytime Fitness gyms in Moxee, Wapato, Toppenish and Granger when inspectors found them open on July 14. The citation fines amount to $38,556.

“These employers are putting their employees at unnecessary health risk by remaining open,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director in charge of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). “The Safe Start order is in place to minimize the unnecessary spread of this deadly disease in our communities.”

In addition to the Anytime Fitness citations, L&I cited a separate company, Double Down CrossFit Co-CrossFit Reformation, for operating Double Down CrossFit in Yakima on June 24. The employer is appealing the citation and $9,639 fine.

Complaints from public lead to inspections
L&I cited the businesses after receiving multiple complaints that they were serving customers when they should not be. Before issuing the violations, the department warned the employers to comply with the state order, and visited each site in person.

Each citation is a “willful general” violation, meaning the employer knew about the safety requirements, but refused to follow them. Each violation carries a penalty of $9,639.

The governor’s emergency proclamation prohibits most businesses from operating unless their county is in the appropriate phase of the statewide plan to reopen, and the businesses follow specific safety requirements.

The cited fitness centers are in Yakima County, one of the state’s most active areas for coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. When L&I inspected the facilities, the county was in Phase 1 or modified Phase 1, the most restrictive tiers of the state’s four-phase plan. Gyms are not allowed to operate in those phases.

Businesses that continue to violate the Safe Start order face additional penalties.

Kennewick tanning salon cited
Along with the fitness centers, a Kennewick tanning salon has been cited for a Safe Start violation.

Tri Cities Tan LLC was recently fined $9,639 for operating Golden Palm Tanning in late June in violation of the governor’s order.

The tanning center is in Benton County, which was in Phase 1 at the time of the violation.

Employers have 15 days from the time they receive a citation to appeal.