After making headlines for rebelling against COVID-19 health measures during Washington’s most devastating wave of infections, Spiffy’s Restaurant and Bakery announced its permanent closure this week.
The Napavine restaurant was thrust into the spotlight over the winter, when owner Rod Samuelson refused to shift to takeout only, prompting hefty fines from the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). In an attempt to fend off enforcement, armed protesters staked out in front of the establishment for days.
Spiffy’s was joined by others balking at COVID-19 restrictions, including the town of Mossyrock, which similarly declared it wouldn’t recognize state mandates, as well as nearby Farm Boy Drive-in, whose owners also vocally defied Gov. Jay Inslee’s restrictions on restaurants.
Future rallies for Spiffy’s and Farm Boy Drive-in would include far-right groups such as the Three Percenters, Patriot Prayer and People’s Rights, a creation of the anti-government activist Ammon Bundy. The restaurants would also draw support for some local elected officials, including Sheriff Rob Snaza and Winlock Mayor Brandon Svenson.
At the time, Lewis County’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 surged beyond the 300 mark.
Although Samuelson vowed to fight court orders and massive fines, pointing to patrons’ donations to a legal fund, the restaurant is still strapped with penalties even after its more than $400,000 in fines was cut in half by the state, according to a KELA article reposted by Spiffy’s.
Samuelson declined to provide comment to The Chronicle.
KELA reported that the restaurant “has found it almost impossible to find workers and experienced difficulties in receiving food deliveries. That led owner Rod Samuelson to decide to close permanently, effective Sunday night.”