Two Black Bear Diners locations, in Bend and Redmond, have been fined $35,000 for allegedly violating COVID-19 restrictions.

Those locations of the Northwest chain allowed indoor dining when Deschutes County was in the extreme risk category due to high coronavirus caseloads, The Bulletin reported.

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Oregon Occupational Safety and Health officials said the restaurants “willfully” continue to potentially expose workers to the virus, despite a public health order of limited or zero indoor dining.

Kathy Degree, the owner of the two Black Bear diner locations, has hired Salem-based Kevin L. Mannix’s law firm to appeal the penalty.

She said she believes she was properly adhering to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules and regulations for businesses that were permitted to be open at the time.

“We felt that we were following all the CDC guidelines of social distancing, face masks, sanitation as all businesses that were open,” Degree said by phone. “We felt we were entitled to those same parameters. We took the safety of our employees to the highest priority, and the records will show that no employee tested positive for COVID.”

Oregon OSHA conducted inspections of both sites following complaints by the public. The restaurants, operating under the legal name of Bucc’NDulge Inc., allowed indoor dining on or around Jan. 13 and continued through Feb. 11, according to an OSHA statement.

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