Hundreds of people gathered in an Oregon neighborhood to protest the $90,000 fine slapped on a local gym for defying Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus closure order.
Protesters gathered in front of a dark, grey house with a sign on the door warning trespassers to keep out, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.
The house is owned by a safety and health enforcement manager who worked for the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Organizers of the rally accused the manager of being the inspector who deemed Courthouse Club and Fitness to be unsafe.
“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.
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.
Courthouse Club Fitness stated in a now-deleted post on its Facebook page that it would remain open and received a $90,000 fine just more than a week later.
State health officials said the fine was calculated from the citations of each of the four fitness clubs’ facilities.
“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.”
The closures are expected to last until December 2, although Brown said “extreme risk” counties with high coronavirus case numbers will face continued restrictions.