Slidewaters hit with $10,000 fine for opening outside Safe Start order

Jul 17, 2020, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm

Chelan water park, Slidewaters...

(Photo courtesy of Slidewaters)

(Photo courtesy of Slidewaters)

In the midst of a legal battle against the state government’s Safe Start order, Slidewaters in Chelan now owes the state nearly $10,000 for reopening illegally.

The Department of Labor and Industries issued a $9,639 fine Thursday to the waterslide park, which has been open since mid-June.

The state also sent Slidewaters an order to immediately shut down until Phase 3 when water parks and pools are allowed to reopen. Chelan County has been in Phase 1.5 since early June.

Slidewaters announced Friday afternoon it would comply and shut its doors for the rest of the season.

This comes after a federal judge dismissed the waterslide park’s suit earlier this week, declaring that the state had the power to shut down businesses during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The Freedom Foundation is appealing that decision on Slidewaters’ behalf.

Seattle business owners flouting reopening rules face jail, fines

“We’ve already appealed to the Ninth District for the ruling that came out of Spokane, and then the rest of the cases have been sent back to the Chelan County Superior Court,” Slidewaters co-owner Robert Bordner said. “So our legal battle with the state is not over.”

Tim Church, public affairs manager for L&I, said the state had reached out to Slidewaters on several occasions with phone calls, emails, and a letter alerting the business that it was breaking the law. L&I employees went to the site in early July for an inspection, but were turned away at the gate.

“They’ve had multiple chances to follow the governor’s order, but have chosen not to,” Church said.

Had the park complied after receiving these notifications, Church said, things wouldn’t have gotten to the point of a $10,000 fine being issued. He said the vast majority of businesses that L&I contacts for operating outside the governor’s order stop doing so immediately, thus avoiding fines.

“There’s no lack of clarity here, this is not about a misunderstanding in any way,” he said. “This is about a company that is choosing to violate the governor’s order, and it’s that simple.”

Church said Slidewaters now has 15 days to appeal the fine.

Bordner said he took his cues from a local decision that was made before the state got involved.

“We did receive a pre-inspection and approval to open from our Chelan-Douglas Health District, and that’s what we have been operating under,” he said. “When the state intervened and had different requests based on that, that was the state request … they’ve been going through their process.”

He said the park has been operating under a set of COVID-19 safety guidelines, including having staff members wear masks, enforcing social distancing, cleaning chairs and common areas often, placing hand sanitizer throughout the premises, and limiting capacity to 50%.

Bordner said he sees the action against his business as hypocritical in light of crowds in local state parks.

“My family can go to five government-run parks in the Chelan Valley and play in the water next to a bunch of other people we don’t know, and there’s no one doing anything about it to prevent them from spreading the disease,” he said. “But because they’re government-run parks, they’re OK to operate.”

Last month, he told KIRO Radio that losing out on the summer months — the only time of year when Slidewaters is open for business — could destroy the business.

Local News

FILE - The Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. returns on C...

Associated Press

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California dies at age 90

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a centrist Democrat who was elected to the Senate in 1992 in the “Year of the Woman” and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, has died. She was 90.

2 hours ago

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Bellevue Police warn of jewelry-for-cash scam targeting good Samaritans

Police are seeing a retuning scam in Bellevue that preys on good Samaritans, and it’s similar to one that’s been happening for years.

2 hours ago

BRAZIL - 2023/09/26: In this photo illustration, the Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a laptop s...

Associated Press

Apple leverages idea of switching to Bing to pry more money out of Google, Microsoft exec says

Apple was never serious about replacing Google with Microsoft’s Bing as the default search engine in Macs and iPhones, but kept the possibility open as a "bargaining chip'' to extract bigger payments from Google

3 hours ago

Image: A Seattle Police vehicle...

Frank Sumrall

Report: Seattle Police ended contract with AI service after Auderer’s comments

SPD canceled its contract with Truleo less than a month after Officer Daniel Auderer's comments about Jaahnavi Kandula's death were captured, a report says.

13 hours ago

Washington wildfires...

Ted Buehner

Maui and Spokane: 2 public warning systems and the need for preparedness

The tragic wind-whipped Maui wildfire last month took many lives. How does the public warning system here shape up in comparison?

15 hours ago

spd auderer...

Frank Sumrall

Seattle Police Officer Daniel Auderer reassigned

Daniel Auderer, the officer who made inappropriate comments over the death of Jaahnavi Kandula, has been reassigned to a non-operational position.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Slidewaters hit with $10,000 fine for opening outside Safe Start order