We're only two days into Gov. Kate Brown's two-week pause in nine counties, and already bars and restaurants are throwing in the towel for the duration—or strongly considering it.
This evening, Von Ebert Brewing's founder, Tom Cook, announced that he will close its two properties for the duration of the period where in-person dining has been capped at 50 people, including the staff. The move is meant to help quell the skyrocketing coronavirus caseload in Oregon, which has still managed to fare better than almost every other state in the country in keeping infection rates down.
"As Governor Brown has asked for a 2 week pause to get COVID cases under control, we contemplated the difficult decision of shutting down our operations to do our part for the "Pause," read a statement signed by Cook on the business's Facebook page. "With that in mind, as of today, we have decided to shut down our operations to give ourselves and our team a chance to take a breath, clean and catch up on a number of projects."
Von Ebert plans on making another announcement on its website and social media platforms once the establishments are ready to welcome back guests. The closure also applies to By Design Pizza Beaverton, which essentially functions as a stealth suburban location for the brewery's top-notch, award-winning beers.
Not everyone has decided to pull the plug while the more stringent restrictions on indoor dining remain in place, but those who are trying to keep their doors open are making other changes.
This afternoon, Ezra Caraeff, who owns the Old Gold, Paydirt, Tough Luck and Hi-Top Tavern, shared on Twitter that all of his bars would shift to outdoor service only. With the alarming rise of COVID-19 rates, he says it is the most responsible thing to do.
"I can only speak for our bars, but serving maskless customers inside just felt reckless at this point," Caraeff tells WW. "While the concept of ceasing all indoor sit-down service the exact week where the weather turns from tolerable to tundra is painful to imagine, we felt a moral obligation to take care of our staff and customers alike. And, of course, we realize our landlords won't accept our moral obligation in lieu of rent, but we couldn't sleep well at night knowing the risks of being in close proximity to maskless patrons inside during a massive localized spike in COVID-19 cases."
Each of Caraeff's four bars are now equipped with sturdy tents or other coverings and feature heaters.
Customers can also help support the businesses through contactless pickup or delivery through a third-party app. It's money that most restaurants and bars these days desperately need.