Chehalis citizen Cory Stajduhar shared a virtual presentation with the Chehalis City Council on Monday afternoon and asked the council to follow in Mossyrock’s footsteps and create an ordinance stating the city “does not recognize” the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The council discussed his presentation and concluded that it would be “counterproductive” to go against state restrictions.
Stajduhar supported his request with multiple documents and videos, saying that “we are not in a crisis” and citing a low-death count in Chehalis, which is information that is not available to the public.
He also argued that the negative impacts of businesses remaining closed are more detrimental to the city and its citizens than the spreading of the potentially-deadly virus.
Mayor Dennis Dawes said that if the city passes an ordinance saying restaurants and other establishments can be open, and the state Department of Labor and Industries fines those places for violating the restrictions, the city could be liable.
“As frustrated as I may be with the governor’s actions and what he’s done, I just can’t do something that I think is counterproductive and may make the problem worse,” Dawes said. “If we were to pass something similar to what Mossyrock has done, I don’t think that’s going to take care of the problem.”
Dawes said that he would not want to give a business “false hope” by passing a city-wide ordinance in opposition to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions when that business could still face fines from L&I.
“I can’t afford writing a law that is not valid and could get the city into situations where we could lose state-aid,” Dawes said.
Dawes said that regardless of COVID-19, the city must still provide core services to citizens, such as police and fire services. Dawes recommended that Chehalis citizens look to their legislators to work to get businesses opened back up.