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What happens when a business doesn't comply with Gov. Inslee's 'stay home' order?

Officials with Washington state say they have received thousands of complaints about non-essential businesses continuing to operate in violation of Inslee's order.

WASHINGTON — An online form used to report still-open unessential businesses has gathered almost 14,000 complaints since Washington Govornor Jay Inslee announced his stay-at-home order.

Non-essential businesses are required to close during the period of social distancing, which prohibits individuals from leaving their homes unless conducting required activities such as grocery shopping, or going to work.

Officials say they are delegating the complaints appropriately and focusing on education rather than imposing penalties on businesses.

"We don't want to have to use any enforcement measures, we're just hoping that people, when they understand the proclamation, will voluntarily comply," Senior Advisor to Inslee Sonja Hallum said.

In order for a complaint to reach the business, the compliance response team must first figure out which agency is in charge of which business.

"We have a process set up where we have the initial contact with the agency to provide education and information about the consequences," Hallum said.

For example, the Department of Labor and Industry would be responsible for a complaint about a construction worker. It's then up to that agency to contact the company, with each industry giving out a different response.

All businesses contacted so far Hallum said, have been cooperative.

Violating Inslee's order could cost businesses a fine of up to $250,000 dollars, and they can be reported to law enforcement or the Attorney General's office.

If you see a non-essential business violating the stay-at-home order and you would like to make a report, text the word "REPORT," to 206-448-4545 for more information.

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