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Portland Brewery Lucky Labrador Voluntarily Recloses Its Brewpubs Over Safety Concerns Related to COVID-19

“The worst thing that can happen to anyone right now is to have an outbreak at your business,” says co-owner Gary Geist. “You’d potentially have the scarlet letter on your business.”

Only two weeks after Gov. Kate Brown allowed bars and restaurants in Multnomah County to reopen, one Portland business is voluntarily shutting down again, citing concerns over the continuing uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Lucky Labrador Brewing announced last night it would temporarily reclose its four brewpubs, fearing Fourth of July weekend crowds might cause a further spike in positive tests.

"It was a gut check," says co-owner Gary Geist. "When this first happened back in March, we shut down a couple days before the governor shut everybody down. I've got the same sort of feeling."

His decision comes amid a wave of new COVID-19 cases across the state and the nation. On July 4, the Oregon Health Authority reported 303 new cases. That marks the third consecutive day when Oregon saw 300 cases or more—a new plateau less than a week after the state reached an average of 200 cases a day.

Related: Oregon's governor faces calls to close bars, just days after they reopened.

Geist says that while he's put numerous precautions in place at his bars, which are known for their dog-friendly patios, what he's seen at other establishments in town has "freaked me out."

He spoke with managers Thursday about closing, and all agreed that staying open, particularly during a potential holiday rush, "just wasn't worth it."

"The worst thing that can happen to anyone right now is to have an outbreak at your business," Geist says. "It can potentially scar you for a long time. You'd potentially have the scarlet letter on your business."

Geist says he plans to reevaluate in two weeks and decide then whether to remain closed or reopen depending on whether cases rise or  decline.

Related: Portland's Pent-Up Energy Pours Back Into the Bars, at Least Until 9:30 pm.