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Bend restaurants take steps to ease COVID-19 concerns; shoppers stockpiling

Some adopting tighter sanitation practices amid outbreak

(Adding more on store actions, shoppers' comments)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ ) -- Some restaurants in Bend say fewer people are eating out, largely out of fear of catching COVID-19, and some are informing customers of new sanitation policies to ease those concerns.

Though there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Central Oregon, many people are still taking precautionary measures, starting with where they're having meals.

The Northwest chain Shari's Cafe and Pies has sent emails to customers and posted online that it's implemented new changes to ensure safe sanitation practices, including:

  • Coffee mugs, utensils, and anything a customer handles at the tables are removed
  • Staff sanitizes menus individually after customer use; menus are kept in a designated location
  • Staff cleans all tables and countertops with a bleach solution

"The risk to our customers and staff remains low and we are continuing to welcome our loyal customers at all Shari’s restaurants," the statement said.

A representative of Bend Pizza Kitchen in northwest Bend said fewer people have been ordering in the store, but delivery orders have increased.

The establishment has added a foot plate that helps guests avoid touching the door handles when they enter the building. Previously, guests were able to type in and order their food on a tablet, but now staff is finishing the orders for customers.

Owner Robert Eisenberg said they've also increased sanitizing efforts, and implemented a non-contact delivery option.

"So for those who are looking to have their food delivered, what we're offering is a non-contact option," Eisenberg said. "What that means is when they call up and ask for a non-contact option, they can order the food, pay for it, and then we will deliver the food, and leave it for them at the door. So they will have no contact with us directly." 

On the shopping front, many retail stores are also out of stock of toilet tissue, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies as more people are buying products in bulk.

Rite Aid, Walgreens, Fred Meyer and Target were all out of hand sanitizer and clorox wipes Tuesday.

Bath and Body Works in the Old Mill District did have some hand sanitizers, but the supply was low. Many stores are placing limits on the amount of supplies you can purchase at once.

Shopper Kayla Dennis said, "Not taking any precautionary thing, but just what I've been getting already. Mainly because I don't want other people to run out. I think if everyone is stockpiling at once, then it's going to be a major issue here soon. It hurts everyone in the community if everyone is taking more than what they need to." 

Another shopper, Joe Boyd said, "My opinions on the coronavirus are unleashed by the powers of darkness. It's been blown way out of proportion."

Like many large consumer operations, Best Buy issued a note to their customers regarding adjustments being made to ease concerns. The chain has implemented a strict travel policy for its employees, and canceled meetings with large gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID- 19.

"We have ramped up cleaning services at our stores and are adding hand sanitizer at the front entrances and at all cash registers," the company said. "Sanitizing wipes are near workstations and counters so that employees can keep them continuously cleaned."

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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