Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Roger Harnack
Gazette Publisher 

Hyde Out owners receive warning letter from L&I


December 17, 2020

Dale and Liz Mann, owners of the Hyde Out

COLFAX - A local bar and grill targeted by the Liquor and Cannabis Board earlier this month has now received a warning from the state Department of Labor and Industries.

Hyde Out Bar and Grill owners Dale and Liz Mann confirmed they have received a warning letter mailed Dec. 11 from Olympia.

In the letter, the agency alleges the business is in violation of a Nov. 16 gubernatorial proclamation ordering restaurants and bars to shut down inside services. That prohibition now extends to Jan. 4.

Dale Mann said Monday he was surprised by the letter.

According to Mann, the business at 215 N. Main St., has been closed since Dec. 1, when a state Liquor and Cannabis Board agent threatened to revoke the business's liquor license and fine the owners.

Mann said, to his knowledge, that L&I agents have not visited the business. And if L&I agents came, they didn't introduce themselves nor did they ask permission to enter.

Revised Code of Washington 49.17.070(3) only allows L&I agents to enter private property "Solely for the purpose of requesting the consent required by this section," according to findings in a lawsuit L&I recently lost in Yakima County. In that case, L&I cited and fined Anytime Fitness owners after its agents entered the business' locations without permission and then failed to identify any bonafide employees on duty.

L&I jurisdiction is limited to assessing risk to employees, not owners.

"They didn't have our permission to come in," Mann said.

Furthermore, the business is owner-operated, he said, noting it is likely only he and his wife – the proprietors – are onsite at any given time.

Liz Mann also challenged the idea there is any risk in entering the business when it was open.

"No science shows that the spread of this (coronavirus) is through restaurants and bars," she said. "There have been no scientific numbers or anything tracing it back to restaurants."

Liz Mann said her and her husband keep the establishment clean and it's unfair for a state agency to bully them – or other small businesses – with threatening letters.

"A lot of small places are not doing well," she said.

The Manns have sought legal counsel on the prohibition of inside service. They plan to evaluate their ability to survive if they have to go to take-out only.

The Gazette is seeking information on both the L&I and liquor board complaints against the Hyde Out. As of press time, neither agency has responded.

In the meantime, restaurants and bars around Eastern Washington are opening up and providing inside services, as are gyms and trampoline parks.

In the Tri-Cities, Koko's Bartini, Barley's Brewhub, Kimo's Sports Bar and Brewpub, and Max Air Trampoline Park have all opened indoors and are challenging state agencies. At least two restaurants have remained open in Pasco, and restaurants are also now open in Wilbur and Okanogan.

West of the Cascades, eateries have opened in Olympia, Chehalis, Vancouver, Mossyrock, Lynden and elsewhere.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 5092356184
Twitter: @RogerHarnack


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