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Bend restaurant/bar owners dismayed by Gov. Brown’s new 10 p.m. COVID-19 curfew

Bend city councilor hears from businesses about unclear guidance, inconsistent enforcement

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Restaurant and bar owners in Bend said they were disappointed to learn of the 10 p.m. curfew Gov. Kate Brown announced on Wednesday as an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The new rule, the same curfew seen during Phase 1 of the COVID-19 restrictions, takes effect on Friday, among other changes to existing rules Brown already had in place.

The updated restrictions also include expanding the statewide mask mandate to include children ages 5 and older and lowering the size limits for indoor gathering spaces, such as restaurants, bars and churches.

“Oregon, we ventured out into the ice together and that ice has begun to crack,” Brown said in a news conference Wednesday.

She also removed exemptions to the face covering mandate, including in gyms and while exercising.

“One thing is really clear. We know that wearing masks saves lives and reduces the transmission of the virus," she said.

NewsChannel 21 spoke with restaurant owners in Bend to hear their thoughts on the new curfew and how it could impact their businesses.

Trevor Kalberg, the owner of Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill, said he was disappointed.

“We’ve been trying to do all we can do here at Sidelines to make it safe and sanitized for customers,” Kalberg said. “It’s very tough, with only half the tables and the occupancy -- and now she’s taking out two of the better hours for when people come down.”

Kalberg said the curfew is bad news not only for businesses, but also for people who work late hours and want to grab a drink after work.

“A lot of people work until 8 or 9 o’clock,” Kalberg said. “When we have to shut down by 10, that means we have to kick everyone out by 9:30, because they want everyone out the door at 10.”

Since reopening in Phase 2, Kalberg said Sidelines started closing at midnight. Prior to the pandemic, Sidelines closed at 1 a.m.

Josh Maquet, the managing director of Astro Lounge, said the OLCC had already referred the lounge to Oregon OSHA for allegedly failing to enforce social distancing guidelines. He said the 10 p.m. curfew will only make matters worse.

“It pushes everybody forward,” Maquet said. “These kids are going to be out. They’re going to be drinking. They’re going to be doing what they want to do. So it really puts pressure on us to get them in, get them out and make them social distance at the same time.”

Jon Weber, the owner of JDub in downtown Bend, said shutting down at 10 p.m. does not affect his business as much as others, because his model is more on the restaurant side.

However, he said the curfew will have a “trickle-down” effect on the economy.

“It crushes a lot of the businesses that really rely on that momentum during that time of night,” Weber said. 

“I’m following the rules as best as I can,” Weber said. “But I don’t understand the difference between certain hours of the day and how the virus spreads then and not at other times.”

After meeting privately with several downtown businesses on Wednesday afternoon, Bend City Councilor Bill Moseley said "Businesses face many challenges trying to remain viable and customers safe. I heard a number of concerns about unclear guidance, operating challenges, and inconsistent enforcement. 

"Some business are making their best effort to comply with COVID policies, but received little or no guidance from the city or state governments on how to do so. If you operate a business, keeping people safe is more complicated than just, 'Wear a mask.'

"I encouraged these businesses to either write or speak to the council. The council has a special meeting (Thursday) morning at 9 a.m. to discuss COVID policy In Bend. We need to know how the city can help keep people employed and also safe. These are challenging times. Let us know how we can help."

Last week, Brown announced she would expand Oregon’s face covering mandate to apply to outdoor public spaces when six feet of distance cannot be maintained. Additionally, she said she would prohibit indoor social get-togethers of more than 10 people.

On Wednesday, she also addressed the recent protests in Portland.

“When I spoke with the director of the Department of Homeland Security last week, I told him to go home and take his federal troops with him,” she said. “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.”

“I cannot believe I have to say that to the president of the United States,” she added. “I know that Oregonians are outraged. Americans should be appalled.”

Click here for more details about the updated requirements and to watch the full news conference. You may also find more details on the COVID-19 page of the governor's website.

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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.


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