ASHLAND, Ore-- Friday marks the first day, for at least the next two weeks, that restaurants across Jackson County can bring people back indoors to serve food and alcohol. According to guidelines set by governor Kate Brown, in regards to reopening during the pandemic, Jackson County restaurants can start serving customers indoors at 25% capacity or at a maximum of 50 people, whichever is smaller.
Over in Ashland, NewsWatch 12 reached out to multiple restaurants, including Omar's, Pie&Vine, Standing Stone Brewing Co., Alchemy Restaurant and Bar, RedZone, Sesame Asian Kitchen, Harvey's and Louie's of Ashland to see if they will be able to open up today.
According to Omar's Fresh Seafood & Steaks and Standing Stone Brewery Company, both restaurants will be open for indoor dining at a limited capacity. Newswatch 12 was unable to get into contact with the owners of Redzone, Louie's of Ashland and Harvey's Place, for an interview yesterday, to see if they would be able to open up. Pie&Vine and Sesame Asian Kitchen declined to comment.
"We're excited to be able to have a pint and eat some brussels sprouts inside and just you know have the music and the ambiance of what it used to be," said Nechelle Lalonde, the manager of Standing Stone. "But we are also nervous, because obviously its another change and in two weeks we can go right back 'to take-out'."
LaLonde says that Standing Stone Brewing Company will only have available indoor seating in the back of the restaurant, with the front of the business and the side room closed to the public. In the last year, LaLonde says that the company lost around 50 of its employees because of the pandemic, and is down to about 28 employees.
Although the restaurant will be running on limited staff, LaLonde says that the staff is ready, and wants, to have indoor dining back.
"I sent messages out to everyone just being like, hey, this is our chance, let's go," said LaLonde.
However, not all restaurants are planning on opening up on Friday, with one business saying that they won't open up their bar until next Friday.
"I wanted to take a week get everything dialed in and make sure that all our staff is set up and good to go," said Drew Gibbs, owner of the Alchemy Restaurant and Bar. "We want to make sure everybody has time to you know, get the cocktails rolling, have everything set up, get all the kitchen prep done, so that we're not having to scramble."
Gibbs says that starting next week, March 5, it will only be the bar and the bar's food that will be available to the public. But when it comes to the restaurant, he says that it will most likely not open back up until the end of March.
"The full menu of appetizers, soup, entree and dessert for the restaurant will not be open until the end of March," said Gibbs.
Although Alchemy's full restaurant menu and seating will not be open for at least another few weeks, if Jackson County continues to remain in the high risk category, Smithfields Restaurant and Bar which is also owned by Gibbs, will be open next week for limited indoor dining.
"It's a service driven industry and we're here to take care of our guests and our locals and our regulars," Gibbs said. "To not be able to see our customers is weird. It's like not seeing your friends for a year."