By Mike De Felice
Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – A judge will soon rule whether the owner of That One Place will have to fork over $132,000 for COVID 19-related fines the restaurant racked up for reportedly serving customers indoors when the practice was barred by a mandate issued by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) imposed the fines claiming the ’50s-style restaurant in Port Orchard repeatedly served patrons in person when such service was banned.
“By continuing to offer indoor dining, That One Place is endangering the health and safety of its employees … and the general public. … This creates an immediate and irreparable probability and risk of serious injury or death,” L&I stated in a January 2021 restraining order filed in Kitsap County Superior Court to stop the restaurant’s alleged practice.
The restaurant owner was cited 11 times for unlawfully serving customers in late 2020 and early 2021, L&I spokeswoman Dina Lorraine said. The state described the violations as “willful serious” and each carried a $12,000 fine.
That One Place owner Craig Kenady appealed the fines and the matter was then brought before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. The appeals hearing was heard over several days before Industrial Appeals Judge Jeffery Friedman. The trial ended this week but no ruling was handed down.
“The judge indicated that he hoped to have a decision out within the next month,” Lorraine said.
During the hearing, both sides presented industrial hygienists to discuss COVID-related hazards in restaurants and support their positions. Kenady also testified, Lorraine said.
At the end of the trial, Kenady told Kitsap Daily News he would withhold comment about the proceeding until the court makes a ruling.
That One Place’s owner has consistently denied accusations that his restaurant violated COVID mandates. In previous interviews, Kenady said his establishment had actually been closed on some of the days the state claimed he was providing indoor service.
“We don’t owe [the state] any money and will expect them to prove this claim that we put our employees in ‘immediate danger of death’ as they claim as their reasoning,” he told the Port Orchard Independent early in the dispute.