This example of a restaurant in Oregon is a case study in what NOT to do to be compliant with OSHA standards. And while I am not a member of the Oregon Bar, I can assure you that the type of behavior apparent in the Oregon restaurant case would not fly in California right now either, especially with the Cal/OSHA emergency temporary standard [ETS] in effect.
Oregon OSHA fined a restaurant more than $17,000 after the owners ignored workplace safety rules and willfully exposed workers to COVID-19. OSHA investigators were initially thwarted by persons brandishing firearms from conducting a compliance review. When the officers attempted to speak to the restaurant's owner, they were advised to leave and were followed back to their vehicles, with the persons threatening the OSHA compliance officers, firearms in tote.
After OSHA was finally able to complete the investigation, they made sure that the penalty was twice the minimum for a willful violation.
Oregon OSHA commented on the case, explaining that this penalty was issued "to ensure a more appropriate deterrent effect where employers insist on disregarding public health measures..." They further indicated that, "[s]uch willful behavior puts employees at risk and enables the employer to achieve a competitive advantage over businesses that choose to comply with workplace health and safety standards."
Although I am unsure of Oregon's particular OSHA standards, the California standards have been touted as some of the more stringent in the nation. Obviously, behavior such as that in the Oregon example above, would warrant a hefty proposed penalty here in California as well.
As vaccine rollouts and declining COVID-19 numbers get businesses thinking about a return to normalcy, I would advise that they must still be vigilant in adhering to the Cal/OSHA ETS. There is no definitive timetable on its expiration, and OSHA has even indicated that it may make some sections of the ETS permanent. To avoid monetary penalties, compliance is a must by California employers.
And don't put armed guards at your storefront to block OSHA compliance officers if they show up...
OSHA said it was eventually able to conduct an investigation even after a person with a firearm blocked the restaurant's entrance and threatened the agency's compliance officers