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Bend restaurants stay open, but COVID-19 limitations spark frustrations

Disgruntled couple, denied a table, storms out of Old Mill restaurant

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- We've all been there: excited to leave our homes amid the pandemic and grab a bite to eat.

Although restaurants are open, there are limitations, and employees are feeling the brunt of frustration from some guests.

On Monday night, a disgruntled couple stormed out of Greg's Grill in Bend's Old Mill after not receiving a table, causing an unsettling scene for employees and guests alike.

Gates Curry said she witnessed the meltdown first hand.

"They were acting irrationally, considering it was a reservation for dinner," Curry said. "My friend and I were standing there with big wide eyes, not believing what was happening. It was extremely immature."

Curry said the couple began to yell at employees and management, making it uncomfortable for her and her friend.

She said she called the restaurant five minutes after they opened on Monday to ensure a reservation ahead of time. She's had a few experiences where she and her friends have been turned away as well.

We asked several restaurants around the Old Mill if they've experienced similar customer meltdowns, but nobody was willing to comment.

We did follow up with Greg's Grill's General Manager Andre Gregoriou, to better understand the complications caused by COVID-19.

"We're only allowed to have 100 people inside, and sometimes that looks like we're not busy, or it looks like there are open tables," Greguriou said. "COVID-19 has certainly been a challenge for us, to communicate with our guests that we are trying our best."

Gregoriou said they are doing everything possible to accommodate their guests, but sometimes they just can't, due to state requirements.

The industry has been hit hard by the virus, but there is even more cause for concern, once the weather turns.

"When it starts to cool down and sitting outside isn't as appealing, we have plans," Gregoriou said. "But, if the public isn't happy or doesn't feel safe, then all that is for nothing."

Gregoriou said he believes his team has never worked harder, due to the sanitation practices and extra care that must go into service, but the entire staff is worried for the future.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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