Kent bar owner agrees to comply with state COVID-19 rules

Steven Siler, the Kent bar owner who defied Gov. Jay Inslee’s indoor dining ban as the state’s coronavirus numbers were spiking again last fall, has agreed to pay a $2,400 fine and comply with the state’s coronavirus safety guidelines going forward.

That ends a showdown that dates back to November when Siler, owner of Stimpy’s Sports Bar & Grill, ignored shutdown orders from Public Health-Seattle & King County and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by allowing customers to dine in his sports bar during the indoor dining ban in mid-November.

Public Health also cited Siler in December for allowing customers and employees to wander around the bar without masks, the Seattle Times reported. At the time, Siler said he intended to defy the shutdown order and stay open because "this is a survival thing."

"It’s my business," he said. "And I’m fighting for it."

The liquor board also put the squeeze on Siler by giving him a Feb. 11 deadline to comply with safety guidelines, or risk getting his liquor license suspended.

After mulling over whether he should sue the state for "violating his civil rights," Siler backed down, saying the legal fees would be too costly to keep his fight going.

"I’m going back to doing what I am good at — running a bar and playing by the rules," he said in an interview this week.