After nearly a month of serving customers indoors despite state rules against it, Stuffy’s II Restaurant of Longview received official notice Monday of a temporary restraining order and $126,000 fine.
The Ocean Beach Highway restaurant’s owners are set to appear at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Cowlitz County Superior Court in response to a temporary restraining order filed by the state Attorney General’s Office.
The state Department of Labor and Industries also issued a citation for “willful serious violations for having inside dining each day for seven days Dec. 22-28),” for a total penalty of $126,000, said L&I spokesperson Dina Lorraine.
A “Stand for Stuffy’s” rally to protest the order is planned one hour ahead of the court hearing.
“We don’t have a ton of time to prep ... so we are doing the best we can,” said Skai Hogue, the owners’ granddaughter and an employee at Stuffy’s. “Other than that, the community support is still really great.”
She noted that the restaurant is working with a lawyer from Eastern Washington who has represented other restaurants in similar cases. The owners plan to ask for a continuance in court, so they can formally add the lawyer to the case.
“I believe the plan is to fight this every step of the way, becuase we have a right to earn a living, and that’s all we are trying to do,” Hogue said.
Stuffy’s II reopened for indoor dining Dec. 6, despite a statewide order prohibiting such services. Under a takeout-only model, the restaurant wasn’t making enough money to cover overhead costs, such as heating and supplies expenses, and it was forced to layoff a number of employees, Hogue said.
Two other restaurants in Longview — the Oregon Way Tavern and Creekside Cafe — also annouced via Facebook their decisions to reopen for indoor dining. Last week officials with L&I told TDN that they had not received complaints about or made contact with those restaurants.