VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Vancouver’s Quartz Mountain Distillers was surprised Wednesday by a $14,060 fine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for producing hand sanitizer, but the company found out Thursday evening that the fee is not being enforced.
Owner Randy Kyle said the distillery began making hand sanitizer in April. The family owners gave almost all of it away to help local health care workers remain safe, the Columbian reported.
All distillers that made hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic were facing the fine.
The Department of Health & Human Services on Thursday announced it was directing the FDA not to enforce the fine after the FDA received heavy backlash on social media.
“Small businesses who stepped up to fight COVID-19 should be applauded by their government not taxed for doing so,” the Department of Health & Human Services said on Twitter.
Kyle said he was unaware of any fine from the beginning of the pandemic. If the company was forced to pay it, he would have to closed down.
“I’d just have to lock the door and walk away,” he said.
Quartz Mountain Distillers was about to begin distilling vodka in March when the pandemic hit, and it began producing hand sanitizer instead. By April, the company had made over 800 bottles of sanitizer.