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‘Freeze’ ends, but C.O. restaurants, patrons still out in the cold

Some residents say they will brave the weather to support local businesses

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- For the first time in two weeks, restaurants in Central Oregon were able to offer outdoor seating Thursday, though the cold weather made it a challenge for some patrons.

While some diners did take advantage of the outdoor seating, Jaclyn Perez, a co-owner at Bend's The Lemon Tree, is not very optimistic because of the cold weather.

She told NewsChannel 21 guests would be able to sit outside if they wanted to, but it's not something she expects to happen.

“Right now, it’s quite freezing cold," Perez said. “It was OK two weeks ago. We had a lot of people outside, but of course now, it’s cold, so things change.”

As of now, outside tents cannot be fully enclosed, so most restaurants will be relying on heat lamps to keep their guests warm, which for customer Anna Kimball is not a problem.

“I brought my blanket," Kimball said. "If I have to wear extra gloves and bring more blankets to support my local business owners, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Faith Lauray shared the same sentiment.

“I think if restaurants provide a decent amount of warmth, like blankets and heater, even if there is snow on the ground, we can bundle up," Lauray told NewsChannel 21. "We are from Central Oregon, so it’s not bad.”

But if it turns snowy, well….

"If it's 'snowing snowing,' we might just do takeout," Kimball said.

OLCC news release:

Oregon Bars & Restaurants may resume limited Outdoor Dining

Restrictions still remain on indoor dining based on Covid-19 cases in each county

Oregon Health Authority provides specific guidance for hospitality industry

PORTLAND, OR. – In the latest effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic and protect Oregonians, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has produced specific guidance on how to conduct business activity. The framework provides specific operational guidance to bars, restaurants, wineries and distilleries.

OHA developed the guidance after Governor Kate Brown, on December 1, 2020, announced updates to county risk levels designed to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The risk levels and guidance are effective as of December 3, 2020, as described in the Governor’s Executive Order 20-66.

The framework uses four different risk levels based on COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—and assigns health and safety measures for each level depending on the type of activity.

The Governor’s office has created a comprehensive coronavirus website with the latest information about the statewide and county level impacts of the pandemic. The website features a drop down menu to see county-by-county risk levels, allowed activities, and the corresponding personal and business activity guidance.

To help licensees with operational requirements, the OLCC will soon update the OLCC COVID-19 Alcohol FAQ’s to reflect how the risk levels impact licensee operations; this update will be found on the OLCC website, under the COVID-19 Resources tab, and the Business Continuity Information – Alcohol link.

The OLCC update will include information about: on-premises consumption, specialized venues operations, and expansion of the licensed premises. OLCC website visitors should check back often for updated information.

Additional guidance covering other personal and economic activities can be found on the OHA Covid-19 Update website. Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-66 can be found on the Governor’s website.

Article Topic Follows: Business

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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