Local restaurant owner will keep employees on payroll despite third shutdown on indoor dining

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Posted: Apr 28, 2021 9:22 AM

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) -- Multnomah County is among the 15 counties in Oregon that are moving back into the “Extreme Risk” category for COVID-19.

Among other restrictions, this new designation means that all indoor dining will shut down beginning on April 30th. Many restaurant and bar owners are having to make difficult staffing decisions now that they won’t be able to serve customers indoors.

However, Ramzy Hatter, the owner of the Riverpig Saloon in northwest Portland is keeping all of his employees on payroll through this third shutdown.

“To lay people off again is just not an option for us so we’re going to keep everyone on payroll and on salary for as long as this new mandate is in place,” Hattar said. He said these restrictions are leaving his employees frustrated and confused. Jonny Wessels is a bartender at Riverpig and said it’s tough having to go through this for the third time.

“We’re going forward, going backwards, going forward and then as soon as we start thinking that we’re making some progress, we’re going back to what got announced today, just patio seating,” Wessels said. Wessels said at this point unemployment isn’t a realistic option because restrictions keep changing.

“We really don’t want to go back to unemployment. We want to work we want to make tips,” Wessels said. Fortunately for Wessels and his teammates, Hattar, has decided to keep every single employee on staff.

“Of course it’s a relief for them” Hattar said. “No one wants to get cut but at the same time, it’s a lot of confusion and frustration too. They understand they’re tips aren’t going to be the same for the next month and we all got to try to pull together and keep the business afloat and get through it all.”

He said it’s his staff that have made it possible for the restaurant to stay open during this time.

“We’ve been able to withstand all of these punches throughout this process and still remain open and doing somewhat well,” Hattar said. And the team and culture they’ve created is a big reason he doesn’t want to let anyone go.

“It’s pretty reassuring,” Wessels said. “I like our tight-knit crew here I mean everyone says it’s like family at their places but we are like family. We celebrate our birthdays together, we laugh, we cry, we share all the emotions together.”

Multnomah County Commissioner, Deborah Kafoury said she’s worried about the surge in cases and hospitalizations and “Simultaneously very worried about our struggling businesses that have already been through so much. We’re imploring Governor Brown and the Oregon Legislature to act quickly to deliver cash grants to businesses affected by this latest uptick in cases. And we want counties, cities and culturally specific organizations to be consulted in order to reach as many businesses as possible, as quickly as possible and as equitably as possible. We’re hopeful we’re going to get through this setback quickly, and we don’t want to lose any livelihoods along the way.”

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Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309841

Reported Deaths: 3569
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah50840642
Washington34683272
Marion32181388
Clackamas26315270
Lane23632246
Jackson20753255
Deschutes16401100
Umatilla12552125
Douglas10599185
Linn1030285
Josephine8536163
Yamhill737299
Klamath637891
Polk617770
Malheur475867
Benton454027
Coos406469
Columbia320237
Jefferson310446
Lincoln272829
Union266036
Wasco236739
Crook212137
Clatsop210225
Tillamook179623
Baker171920
Morrow166621
Curry166317
Hood River161635
Harney77115
Grant7538
Lake6608
Wallowa50111
Gilliam1364
Sherman1283
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4636268

Reported Deaths: 67966
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles144412725849
Riverside3575584802
San Diego3492274006
San Bernardino3468955501
Orange3135295354
Sacramento1498662070
Santa Clara1403871841
Fresno1356471889
Kern1343971515
Alameda1160681320
Ventura976231120
San Joaquin971621615
Contra Costa95595924
Stanislaus800341229
Tulare72812896
San Mateo52172607
San Francisco51808605
Monterey49445565
Solano44061312
Santa Barbara43065500
Sonoma39376376
Merced39279535
Placer36390364
Imperial34235755
Kings30038285
San Luis Obispo28273313
Madera21672258
Butte21205230
Shasta20647276
Santa Cruz20134211
Yolo19118239
Marin17080242
El Dorado15964127
Sutter13055153
Napa1224695
Yuba923461
Nevada845685
Humboldt826284
Tehama821184
San Benito708567
Mendocino681971
Lassen636827
Tuolumne612593
Lake601087
Amador489759
Glenn396430
Siskiyou388841
Calaveras339366
Del Norte334234
Colusa290718
Inyo166239
Mono14935
Plumas12336
Mariposa96712
Trinity71910
Modoc6278
Sierra1980
Unassigned1180
Alpine1000
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