Local water park mysteriously prevented from reopening despite others being allowed to fully operate

After having been given permission to operate by local health officials, the state came in and shut them down, though they allowed other, government run parks, to operate.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

As the battle rages in Congress over another stimulus bill, small businesses are trying to survive coronavirus shutdowns. Some are facing a threat bigger than coronavirus, a vindictive government.

Robert Bordner is the co-owner of Slide Waters water park at Lake Chelan in Washington State. After having been given permission to operate by local health officials, the state came in and shut them down, though they allowed other, government run parks, to operate.

Bordner and his staff had worked hard on a 30 page COVID plan for the park to operate safely and conform with all government regulations. "For the non water stuff it was not that drastically different from what people we doing everywhere else, help people see what six feet looks like, we added more signage, hand washing stations, sanitizer, added new greeter positions who was going to talk to people before they came in. We communicated as much as possible with everybody what it would take to operate the park."

Slide Waters had the added challenge of being on land and in water. "On the (life) guard side we talked to them about what it would take to keep people safe there, to minimize space in the pools, to make more room for people that are sliding and in lines for slides... we made changes there to our operational plan."

Even with all the preparation, Slide Waters was still not allowed to open. "I have doctors that are backing us and saying, 'outside, this makes no sense because that is where we want people to be,' the sheriff is backing us, the Marine Patrol wrote a great letter for us stating that he wants Slide Waters open because it gives people more water activities. A doctor in Wenatchee sees the value of families having a place to come where pools are guarded because drownings are going to increase if they have to choose a natural body of water."

The only alternative left to Bordner was to pursue legal action. "When it seemed like things were not going to go our way, we partnered up with the Freedom Foundation. They said your rights are being infringed upon, you are being shut down unfairly and unjustly, we would like to battle with you for your rights."

With a lawsuit in motion, Slide Waters ownership continued looking at alternatives to legal action. "I went ahead and emailed the State Department of Health (DOH) who handles water recreation facilities and said who is going to give us permission to open? He emailed me back and said your local health district issues your permit… I emailed them…they got back to me and said show me your plan and I’ll look at it. We’ll see what happens."

An hour later Bordner sent in the plan. "He reviewed it for a day and said this looks great, you have covered everything. I’d like to come up for an onsite inspection. I said great we are ready now. He said I will come this afternoon and that was June 18th. He showed up and inspected the park and was here for about 2 hours, looked at everything and at the end of that meeting he signed us off as COVID ready."

"We felt like God had answered our prayers," Bordner said. "We opened June 20th and we operated for 30 days before we had to shut down. The State was not happy that the local health department had given us approval to open and they said that the health department did not have the right to do that… they tried to intervene in that and since then we have been in this legal battle

Many businesses have been targeted by Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s "Snitch List" where people could complain about businesses, neighbors or strangers "violating" the governor’s order but offering no proof. Often reports were made by people with personal grudges or even competing businesses. Businesses were sent threatening letters, emails and worse from the state based on unfounded allegations.

"LNI (Labor and Industries) showed up for a visit based on one complaint that said we had done nothing to protect our employees which was false we had done everything possible," Bordner said.

Slide Waters did not win the temporary restraining order hearing, and the suit was sent to federal court. Last week, the case was dismissed and sent back to Chelan County, which Slide Waters appealed.

"When the case got dismissed, they (The State) sent LNI back out with the DOH with a restraining order saying you are against the Governor’s proclamation, you need to close immediately. They hit us with a $9,600 fine, threatened us with jail time and imprisonment, and at that point we knew that we had to adjust our operating schedule because we were not willing to go to jail and be separated from our families but we have not stopped our fight so have appealed to the 9th circuit, we’ve appealed to the Department of Health rulings, LNI’s fine and the Governor’s proclamation.

"Unfortunately," Bordner continued, "the timeline for that is not in our advantage so we might not get heard until our season would normally have ended. But we are still pushing forward because maybe it is not in the best interests for us because of the timelines but we are hopeful that it will be beneficial for other small businesses that are also suffering because of the way the government is handling this."

When asked if he attempted to ask the government about their concerns so they could be addressed Bordner answered "…we have attempted to have dialogue with the state and we have asked questions to them why this doesn’t work, why this doesn’t keep people safe, why we are not a safe park and when we compare ourselves to the state run parks... that are all open and operational, we are just asking for a comparison, why is it safe over there for people to play in water but it is not safe here.

"There has been no dialogue, there has been no explanation. Most of the letters and emails we got were all form based, they didn’t take the time to actually know our situation, they just copied and pasted. The DOH. the Secretary of Health and Governor Inslee have no idea what's going on at Slide Waters."

Bordner continued: "There is no trust when you have hypocrisy and different standards, it is impossible to trust anything they say because there is no consistency. You have one or two people making the decisions for everyone. I have a 10 and 11 year old and they think in the moment they are always right and what they want they should get and I turn around and I feel like my state is being governed by someone that acts like my 10 or 11 year old."


Join and support independent free thinkers!

We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.

Support The Post Millennial

Remind me next month

To find out what personal data we collect and how we use it, please visit our Privacy Policy

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© 2024 The Post Millennial, Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information