ONTARIO — It is not yet known if any of the violations in bars and restaurants discovered over the holiday weekend by OLCC were in Malheur County. A total of 18 inspectors from Oregon Liquor Control Commission saturated 800 of those businesses throughout the state and found violations in the Eugene, Medford and Bend regions. The sweep was being done to ensure Gov. Kate Brown’s social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 were being met for the holiday weekend.
Compliance checks were to ensure staff and customers were wearing face coverings and staying at a safe physical distance from others, as positive COVID-19 cases are on a major upswing in the state. According to a news release from OLCC, “problem locations” were found along the central Oregon coast, some spots in southern Oregon and in Bend during the sweep from Friday to Sunday.
On most weekends, OLCC has about eight inspectors doing compliance checks at bars and eateries.
In most of eastern Oregon, OLCC says inspectors found significant compliance among bars and restaurants. Other areas in that category were the Portland Metro area, the Salem region, Coos County and the north Oregon coast, according to the release.
There were 75 visits in the Bend region, which includes central and eastern Oregon counties, but a breakdown by county was not provided. However, among those visits, OLCC violations were identified and there were 12 businesses which received on-site verbal instructions to improve social-distancing compliance.
Information about specific businesses is expected later this week, wrote Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman in an email on Tuesday.
In other areas of the state, OLCC investigators found violations of social distancing requirements that will be forwarded to Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for action, according to the OLCC news release.
OLCC inspectors reported some licensees or their respective customers “were showing clear disregard for social distancing requirements.” Social distancing violations were found among some bars and restaurants in Bend’s downtown district, portions of Josephine County and the Newport area, according to the agency.
The majority of visits were in the Portland Metro area and Salem region, where no OLCC violations were discovered, according to the news release.
In cases where licensees are found to be out of compliance, OLCC will follow up with administrative action for those who are found to have violated state law or OLCC rules.
In a search for Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations in Malheur County over the holiday weekend, spokesman Aaron Corvin said he could not find any.
“To be sure, for any violations to be identified and/or cited, there would first need to be an inspection,” he wrote in an update.
Oregon OSHA was there to offer assistance if needed.
“Oregon OSHA was on standby to assist OLCC over the weekend if necessary, but immediate action on our part was not needed,” Corvin said.