About two months after being served a red notice by Oregon OSHA, and being forced to move operations to the sidewalk in front of the store, Howard’s Drugs in Lakeview has officially had the red notice removed and is welcoming customers back inside.
When OSHA hit Howard’s with a red notice the agency noted that employees were interacting with each other and customers without plexiglass shielding or face coverings. After the red notice, Caleb and Jeff Howard moved their operations outside where they were still able to assist customers, though no one was allowed inside. They were also issued a $9,400 fine by OSHA for non-compliance with the COVID workplace rules set down by the Governor’s Office through Executive Orders and by OSHA through its administrative rulemaking ability.
Caleb and Jeff both disagreed with the interpretations of the rules laid down by OSHA, and were standing by their position that they were following the rules. They said that under their interpretation of the rules, they would not force anyone to wear face coverings while entering their store, nor would they enquire why people were not wearing face coverings, believing it to be a violation of privacy rights of individuals and not wanting to get into their health and HIPAA rules. OSHA disagreed with that interpretation.
With the store now open the front counter has plexiglass between the cashiers and the customers, and the people working the front are wearing face coverings. While the sign that said they would not ask customers why they are not wearing face coverings has been removed, it is uncertain how much they will enforce customers wearing face coverings.
This does not affect Howard’s appeal of the fine from OSHA, which is still in the works. Caleb said until they got a lawyer, OSHA was giving them the run around about the red notice, and are now leaving all OSHA direct communication with their lawyer.
A hearing on the appeal can take anywhere from six months to a year after filing an appeal with OSHA.
Howard’s Drugs is currently open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., and is closed on Saturday and Sundays.
For more information call 541-947-2141.