PORTLAND, Ore. — Following pre-announced enforcement of coronavirus-related rules over the Fourth of July weekend, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission said that most bars and restaurants were operating under state rules. However, the agency said that it encountered "problem locations" along the central Oregon coast, areas of southern Oregon, and in the city of Bend.
Governor Kate Brown heralded spot checks by state regulators last week, just a few days after a statewide mandate for use of face coverings went into effect.
The OLCC said that it had inspectors visit 800 businesses across the state between July 3 and 5, with more than a dozen staff members out each day. Usually, the agency said that it has an average of eight inspectors out on the weekends.
According to the agency, inspectors found "significant compliance" with the social distancing and face covering requirements at bars and restaurants around Portland, Salem, Coos County, along the north Oregon Coast, and in most of eastern Oregon.
"In some instances, inspectors provided licensees with on-the-site verbal instructions to improve compliance with the social distancing guidelines," the OLCC said.
In other areas of the state, the inspectors found licensees and customers showing "clear disregard" for the social distancing requirements. The OLCC highlighted trends in downtown Bend, in parts of Josephine County, and in the Newport area.
"In those locations, inspectors also found licensees violating state statutes or OLCC rules, and the OLCC will be issuing administrative violations to those businesses," the agency said.
Inspectors recorded visits to 48 establishments in the Medford region — which includes Coos, Curry, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, and Lake counties. Ten businesses in the region received verbal warnings, and the agency indicated at least some OLCC violations, along with an assessment of "scattered non-compliance" in Jackson and Josephine counties for social distancing and face coverings.
Despite visiting a great many more establishments in the Portland and Salem areas, the OLCC recorded no violations to state statutes or agency rules, and noted "general compliance" for both regions.
"The OLCC is continuing its investigations of licensees found to be out-of-compliance and will take administrative action against licensees alleged to have violated state law or OLCC rules," the agency said. "After investigators complete their reports about observed violations regarding social distancing requirements, the cases will be forwarded to Oregon OSHA for action."