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Oregon restaurants push for fewer COVID-19 restrictions

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Jason Brandt, the CEO of ORLA says the group is calling on the state to ease restrictions adding the science isn’t there to keep restaurants restricted to take out and delivery only.

Posted: Jan 28, 2021 10:37 AM
Updated: Jan 28, 2021 10:38 AM

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PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) -- The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association is calling on the state to lift some restrictions on restaurants and allow them to have indoor dining.

The organization says the restaurants and lodging industries continue to suffer greatly. It points to Oregon Employment Department data that shows leisure and hospitality businesses lost 25,000 jobs in December.

ORLA says changes to restrictions for other industries is welcome news but still thousands of restaurant operators are not assisted by the modifications.

Treva Gambs, owns Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurants in Salem and Albany. She says the last year has been tough.

“I have never seen anything like this, you know, it is devastating,” Gambs said.

She has been in the restaurant industry for 40 years. In an attempt to keep people safe, she and other business owners made changes in order to stay open.

“A lot of them spent money putting in the plexi partitions, did some great renovations and we are punishing them now for doing the right thing,” Gambs said.

She adds there are several challenges and costs associated with the state’s current reopening metric plan that categorizes counties by risk level. She points to food costs, having to discard unused food, employees not having reliable schedules and finding other jobs. Gambs says employees have left to go other places to make money. That adds training costs on her end for new employees. She adds she would like to have a timeline to be better prepared and plan.

“There is nobody not running a business not knowing a timeline, having a plan, having an execution, so this we’ll wait and tell you in two weeks, how do you really try to be successful,” Gambs said.

Jason Brandt, the CEO of ORLA says the group is calling on the state to ease restrictions adding the science isn’t there to keep restaurants restricted to take out and delivery only.

“The vast majority of the states in our country have indoor dining open right now and they are finding ways to really manage the virus in a multifaceted way,” Brandt said.

He says the Oregon food service industry accounts for less than 1% of all workplace outbreaks in the state and 4.7% of Oregon’s overall outbreaks, but operations remain shut down.

“We are disproportionally saddled with economic restrictions that make it virtually impossible for our small businesses to stay in business,” Brandt said.

One thing ORLA would like to see change, a small step, is to allow some sort of indoor dining even if it is at 25% capacity.

“The reason I am so confident in that is because we did have indoor dining across the entire state earlier in 2020 and case counts did remain low during that time,” Brandt said.

For Gambs, she says she is trying to stay hopeful for the future adding if she didn’t have hope she would have already thrown in the towel.

“Those are tough decisions for her to make, I understand I would not want to make life and choice for anybody but I am because we are closing and my staff are, you know how long has it been no rent for them,” Gambs said.

FOX 12 did reach out to the Governor’s Office and OHA for comment and has not heard back.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
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