LOCAL NEWS

WA state employees enforcing COVID rules face threats from armed groups

Dec 8, 2020, 8:36 AM | Updated: Dec 10, 2020, 5:21 am
threats...
A table stands empty at a permanently closed restaurant in Manhattan. Restaurants in Washington state are currently permitted to serve takeout, but are not allowed to offer indoor dining due to COVID-19. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Twice now, Washington state employees trying to enforce COVID rules have faced threats from citizens with guns. Mike Yestramski, president of the Washington Federation of State Employees, worries someone will be injured or killed.

Yestramski told KIRO Radio that one inspector from the Department of Labor & Industries did not feel safe returning for a follow-up visit to Spiffy’s Restaurant in Chehalis after a confrontation last week.

Spiffy’s Restaurant in Chehalis open despite pressure from state officials

“After that L&I inspector was met by armed protesters who threatened — and I use the word protesters lightly — who threatened to do them harm, that person did not come back for the follow-up inspection,” Yestramski said.

KIRO Radio called the restaurant Monday, and verified it is continuing to defy the current rules and serve meals indoors.

In the Tri-Cities, a group tracked a state liquor enforcer to his home, upset that he was trying to enforce a shut down of a local bar that’s also defying orders by serving indoor diners. Yestramski says the group threatened the man with violence and with a firearm.

“They went to the officer’s home with a large group of heavily armed individuals, protesting and harassing that officer and their family,” he added.

Yestramski also says some in the confrontational crowds have connections to violent vigilante groups, including the militants who tried to kidnap Michigan’s governor, and those who took over a federal property in Oregon four years ago.

Gov. Inslee bans indoor gatherings, dining as part of new COVID-19 restrictions

People who want to push back on coronavirus restrictions need to work with their elected officials, Yestramski says, instead of going after state employees.

The union president says he has reached out to the governor’s office asking for help finding ways to keep state employees safe while they investigate and enforce COVID-19 measures.

“Follow-up will have to take different forms than it maybe traditionally would,” Yestramski said.

KIRO Radio’s Diane Duthweiler contributed to this report.

Local News

sun...
Frank Sumrall

Seattle finally experiences first 5 p.m. sunset of 2023

Ninety days have passed since Seattle saw a sunset at or later than 5 p.m., but the city will enjoy its first 5 p.m. sunset this week.
21 hours ago
doomsday...
Bill Kaczaraba

Poll: Nearly half feel we are nearing the end of the world

In a KIRO Newsradio Twitter poll, almost half of all participants feel we are nearing the end of the world.
21 hours ago
deer...
Micki Gamez

Study: Staying in standard time leads to more deer-vehicle collisions

When we turn back our clocks each November, we increase our chances of hitting deer because they come out in abundance at night.
21 hours ago
ballard business owners...
Jake Chapman, KIRO 7 News

Woman hit and killed by SPD car identified; officer was responding to call nearby

According to police, the officer was heading north on Dexter Avenue North on Monday night, responding to a ‘priority one’ call.
21 hours ago
rainier...
L.B. Gilbert

Mount Rainier, national parks receive ‘record-setting’ $1.1 million

Washington’s National Park Fund announced that they were distributing $1.1 million to use at projects to improve the parks.
21 hours ago
robbery...
L.B. Gilbert

Man had gun held to head during robbery at Silverdale ATM 

Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man after he allegedly robbed someone at gunpoint in Silverdale Wednesday.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
WA state employees enforcing COVID rules face threats from armed groups