Grants Pass restaurants prepare to reopen indoor dining

Josephine County will move down one level to ‘High Risk’ from ‘Extreme Risk’ starting tomorrow. The shift will allow restaurants to reopen indoor dining at 25 percent maximum capacity – or 50 people.

Posted: Mar 11, 2021 5:11 PM
Updated: Mar 12, 2021 5:58 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Josephine County will move down one level to ‘High Risk’ from ‘Extreme Risk’ starting tomorrow.

The shift will allow restaurants to reopen indoor dining at 25 percent maximum capacity – or 50 people.

NewsWatch 12 spoke to restaurant owners in downtown Grants Pass, and they say they’re doing a lot of cleaning as well as getting more staff ready to work tomorrow.

Jill Dimi, co-owner of The Bohemian, says the risk level restrictions has been a rollercoaster for her business.

“It's been very difficult. We've worked hard on keeping the morale up of the employees as well as ourselves as owners, because one week you're told, ‘Okay, you can open,’ and then you order product and you staff everything and you get ready – and then two weeks later you're told you have to close now,” Dimi said.

Now that customers can dine inside her bar and bistro starting tomorrow, she’s feeling hopeful again.

However, it comes with some limitations – the 25% capacity rule means she can only have 12.25 people inside.

“I don't know how I'm going to do the .25,” Dimi said. “We’re excited, but we know it's still going to be a bit of a rollercoaster.”

Over at The Horny Goat, co-owner Shelly Solomon is facing a similar situation.

“We are a 200-seat restaurant, so when we went down to only the 50 seats, it really was economically hurtful because it takes a lot of revenue to keep this big of a building and staff onboard afloat,” Solomon said.

Solomon came up with some creative ways to beat the business blues.

“We've got these little greenhouse huts and people seem to think it's kind of like a cool cabana, so it’s very intimate and we're just trying to make it work,” Solomon said.

What’s been life savers for both Solomon and Dimi are the parklets outside their businesses.

The restaurants petitioned for the City of Grants Pass to put them back sooner than later – and it worked out in their favor.

Both owners say they wouldn’t be able to survive without their customers support, and they look forward to serving them indoors again.

"We’re very excited to see our regular customers come back. You know, we're like family here. This is where the locals eat,” Solomon said.

“It's been amazing. Our city council has been very helpful. We pushed to get the parklets back earlier than they were anticipating and they came through. The community, in terms of our regular customers, our friends and neighbors – everyone has been helping each other,” Dimi said.

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