(Update: Council votes 5-2 to send letter to governor)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After making several changes, Redmond city councilors voted 5-2 Tuesday evening to send a letter to Gov. Kate Brown, urging her to give businesses in "Extreme Risk" counties the same flexibility to reopen with health protocols in place that she has granted schools.
The letter asks the governor to consider adjusting guidance and "allow businesses to reopen in a manner that requires masks and physical distancing measures and frequent hand-washing."
"Many of our small business owners and their employees are now scared, angry, frustrated and confused," the letter states. "They feel they have been abandoned by our state government, selectively eliminated from the economy, and left to survive by their own devices. Meanwhile, larger chain and big box stores have crowded aisles and checkout counters.
"It has reached a breaking point," the letter says.
Read the two-page letter here:
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The current restaurant restrictions in Oregon do not allow indoor dining in at-risk counties such as Deschutes County.
While many restaurants in Redmond are doing what they can to survive, some feel they don't have a say in whether they can remain open or closed.
These restaurants have turned to Mayor George Endicott and the Redmond City Council to give them a voice.
"I guess my point is, I do trust businesses to do the right thing, when given the opportunity," Endicott said.
At next Tuesday's council meeting, Mayor Endicott and the other councilors will further discuss sending a letter (the staff draft is at P. 13 of the council agenda packet) to Gov. Kate Brown, asking that she give the same reopening consideration she is granting school districts.
"People are scared, angry, frustrated and confused," the draft letter states. "They feel they have been abandoned by our state government, selectively eliminated from the economy, and left to survive by their own devices.
"Meanwhile, larger chain and big box stores are able to unfairly steal their customer base and their revenues, while these hardworking women and men are left to whither through no fault of their own.
"It has reached a breaking point," the letter states, asking the governor give counties in the "Extreme Risk" category more flexibility and let communities and businesses reopen under COVID-19 safety protocols.
Redmond does allow outdoor dining, but with the added costs of tents, heaters and propane met with fewer customers, it isn’t enough for some businesses.
Endicott said Friday he feels that restaurants should be able to have indoor dining, as long as they follow the basic guidelines with masks, sanitizing and distance.
Richard Lance, a Redmond citizen, wrote his own letter to the council after last week's discussion about sending the governor a letter, expressing that these guidelines are here for a reason.
"Say you're at the bar and you have a meal or a drink, and you have your mask on and off,” Lance said. “You may end up in a pretty animated conversation with whoever you're dining with. You may stay there for a while after the meal."
Lance said he feels that the council's letter to he governor doesn’t consider the reasoning for the guidelines, and is wary of having restaurants open.
However, he does understand the need.
"I think this is a very hard balance to strike, but I just feel like the letter doesn't pay very much attention to the health and safety needs," Lance said.
Endicott said he is trying to help his community, but needs transparency from all sides.
"The best we can do is just ask and say, 'Look, we'll fight for you, but you have to be willing to adhere to guidelines.'"
Endicott said Brown plans to meet with mayors and representatives across the state, and hopes they can find a workable solution.