City of Woodland fined after council members go without face masks

The state Department of Labor and Industries has fined the city of Woodland in southwest Washington for potentially exposing staff to COVID-19 when councilmembers went without face masks during meetings.

According to the citation received Friday, Woodland did not comply with the governor’s COVID-19 emergency proclamation banning businesses from operating unless all customers inside the building are wearing facial coverings, The Daily News of Longview reported.

"Despite councilmembers choosing not to wear facial coverings at all times, the city continued to facilitate these meetings and expose their employees to the potential spread of COVID-19," the citation said. "Continued operations in contravention of the orders of the governor unnecessarily endangers employees and creates a substantial probability that death or serious harm could result."

The violation was corrected during the L&I inspection, according to the citation.

Woodland Mayor Will Finn could not be reached for comment Monday.

Last year, the state received complaints from citizens and staff about people not wearing masks during council meetings.

The council has held mostly in-person meetings since June 1, after voting unanimously to do so on May 20 "regardless of Gov. (Jay) Inslee’s stay-at-home order."

The city has 15 work days from March 19 to pay the fine or appeal the citation.