Editor's note: Above video is a report on The Black Diamond in Spokane Valley reopening in defiance of the stay-home order
SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — The owner of a bar in Spokane Valley says it will remain open in defiance of the stay-home order after receiving a violation notice from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB).
The board said on Wednesday that it is immediately increasing enforcement at businesses that continue to operate illegally despite having received notices or warnings.
Businesses that ignore education or warnings could face an emergency license suspension. This is issued when a business's actions risk the public’s “health, safety and welfare," the LCB said.
Julie Graham, a spokesperson for LCB, said The Black Diamond in Spokane Valley received a violation notice, with a penalty of a five-day license suspension or $500 fine. If the bar reopens illegally, the board could take additional action — including the possibility of an emergency closure.
The Black Diamond wrote on Facebook that they "chose to accept this ticket in order to let our amazing customers enjoy their right to go out and socialize with friends and family."
The bar will be closed on Thursday so staff can rest before reopening on Friday, even if state officials and Gov. Inslee do not allow Spokane County to move into Phase 2, according to the Facebook post.
“By then Inslee will have realized, just as you all have, that Spokane is ready and safe to reopen," the post reads.
The temporary suspension of The Black Diamond's license will not occur for at least 30 days and won't happen at all if owner Brandon Fenton pays $500. He also has the right to contest the violation notice, which could extend the time before a suspension occurs.
Graham said on Wednesday that the Iron Horse Bar and Grill, also located in Spokane Valley, received a verbal warning from the board and was told what they would need to do to be in compliance with the governor's order. The board has not yet taken further action.
Kelli Hawkins, a spokesperson for the Spokane Regional Health District, said local health officials have not issued written warnings or formal notices to food establishment operating in defiance of the stay-home order.
Enforcement begins through formal warnings from the sheriff's office and efforts to educate businesses on the importance of following the governor’s order, she added.
Iron Horse posted a message to its Facebook page on Monday, saying it was reopening under Phase 2 guidelines.
“The governor of Washington state has never dictated to us how to run our business. If our leading health officials say it’s ok to move forward to Phase 2, we believe we are totally within our rights to do so," the message from Iron Horse reads.
After two-and-a-half days of operating illegally, the bar posted on Wednesday that it would be closed until further notice.
"Unfortunately the party is over. Sorry if you missed it," the post reads.
Since the stay-home order was issued in March, the LCB has taken an educational approach to restaurants and bars that have continued to operate or were otherwise in violation of the order. In nearly all cases, discussions with businesses have been enough to return the business to compliance, according to the LCB.
A small number of liquor licensees in the state continue to "willfully violate" the governor's order, including some in Spokane County, the LCB said. The board has received more than 1,300 compliants of businesses in violation of the governor's order.
As of May 19, the LCB has issued zero violations, and 34 formal warnings or corrective actions.