Hundreds of people gathered Sunday afternoon in an Oregon neighborhood to protest the $90,000 fine slapped on a Salem gym for defying Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 closure order.
Protesters gathered in front of a house belonging to a safety and health enforcement manager with the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Organizers of the rally alleged the manager was the inspector who deemed Courthouse Club Fitness unsafe.
The dark, grey house had a sign on the door warning trespassers to keep out, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.
“If you’re in that house, we’re asking you to stand with the people … because if you don’t stand with us, we’re going to go through some real difficult times,” protest organizer Joey Gibson said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s order made it a requirement for gyms and fitness centers, as well as other businesses, to close between November 18 and December 2 to respond to and stop the rising level of coronavirus cases.
The owner of Courthouse Club Fitness, John Miller, posted a letter prior to the freeze on the gym’s Facebook account announcing that it would remain open.
“As a result of the harm done to our business from the first shutdown, we will not survive another closure.”
The gym received a $90,000 fine just more than a week later.
The total amount of the fine is the result of citations against four Courthouse Club Fitness facilities across Salem and Keizer.
“The total penalty for each individual inspection is $22,500,” said Mark Peterson, acting spokesman for OSHA. “That’s a willful penalty of $17,500 for being open to the public and a separate $5,000 penalty for violating the Red Warning Notices that we posted at each location late last week.”
Gov. Brown and Oregon health officials last week announced a new set of COVID-19 restrictions that will go into place once the two-week freeze ends. For most counties, indoor gyms will remain closed under the new restrictions.