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Bend restaurants, breweries reopen with changes, restrictions

Phase 1 of Gov. Kate Brown's reopening plan began Friday

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Restaurants, breweries and bars hit hard by COVID-19 closures and restrictions are among the businesses who got the long-awaited green light to reopen Friday. However, the experience will be different than what people are used to.

"Today is our first day back, and it's just like it was eight months ago,” said long-time Bend resident Mike Dugan about the scene at Crux Fermentation Project on Friday. “Kind of terrific and crowded."

The atmosphere might be the same, as people were lounging on the lawn at a safe distance.

It would not take long, though, to notice several changes in place to meet the Gov. Kate Brown’s guidelines.

"Right now, we're just keeping people outside, no indoor seating, and creating one-way lanes for people to order beer and markings on the floor,” said Jason Randles, Crux’s marketing manager. “All of our staff's wearing the proper PPE, wearing masks and gloves."

Phase One of Gov. Brown's reopening guidelines also include adopting single-use menus, putting condiments into individual containers and having a hostess or employee to manage customer flow and distancing. Randles said Crux has checked off all of those boxes.

Meanwhile, the Bledsoe Family Winery in Bend's Box Factory opened Friday with limited hours. There's a sign on each table out front that strongly encourages reservations, and one employee told NewsChannel 21 if people don't have one, they’ll probably get turned away.

In downtown Bend, Noi Thai Cuisine has set its reopening for Saturday as it gets the final changes into place.

In the bar area, there are no longer stools at the counter and the tables are more spaced apart to meet the six-foot standard. In the main seating area, every other table and booth is blocked off with red tape and a sign that says "Table Closed" to also promote social distancing.

Since restaurants are not allowed to preset tables with silverware and napkins right now, Noi Thai’s General Manager Wendi Kissler told NewsChannel 21 Friday it will be implementing a new system to let employees know which tables still need to be sanitized, and which ones are ready for seating.

Noi Thai is going to operate at half-capacity, meaning only 75 people will able to eat inside at a time. Kissler has a backup plan, in case it gets too crowded.

"Outside seating we are interested in doing of course, because there again, we can get more occupancy,” Kissler said. “As long as it maintains that six-foot distance, I think we're going to be okay."

So the next time people grab a bite to eat, things will look and feel different. Still, Friday's reopening marks a huge step on the road to recovery.

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Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.


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