PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A federal judge in Portland has denied a temporary restraining order against Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 restrictions around dine-in at restaurants.
The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association had filed the lawsuit saying there was no evidence linking outbreaks of the virus to the restaurant industry in the state. Restaurant owners have said they felt the industry was being singled out.
In court Tuesday, lawyers argued that the restrictions were unfair and were causing harm not only to restaurant owners but employees in the industry. They echoed concerns of restaurant owners that Oregon Health Authority data does not link cases to the industry.
The governor’s lawyers argued that the restrictions were put in place after health officials looked at several studies that showed the virus does spread in restaurants but added, Oregon doesn’t have the data because contact tracers are so overwhelmed they don’t ask those type of questions.
In her decision, Judge Karin Immergut wrote that Gov. Brown’s executive order services a legitimate state interest. That interest is preventing the spread of COVID-19 during a sharp increase in cases and protecting Oregonians.
BREAKING: Judge denies Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Associations temporary restraining order to lift the state Covid-19 restrictions that stop dine-in option. pic.twitter.com/tecIxPhttv— John Hendricks (@JohnKPTV) November 25, 2020
In her brief, Immergut wrote that the court understands the hardships restaurants and the industry are going through but there has to be a balance with those hardships and protecting the health of all Oregonians.
At the end of the decision Immergut wrote that further weighing in the government’s favor is that fact that the order is limited in duration and that restaurants have other ways to serve customers.
The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association issues a statement Tuesday night, writing:
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is disappointed we were not able to secure a temporary restraining order against the latest indoor and outdoor dining room freeze on our industry, which continues to impact thousands of operators and tens of thousands of industry employees.
We remain committed to working with Governor Kate Brown, her professional staff, and the Oregon Health Authority to find paths forward for Oregonian livelihoods which remain devastated by the realities of COVID-19.
We must now turn all of our attention to the importance of convening a special session of the Oregon Legislature in December, as well as the necessity of federal action. We must bridge the gap for Oregon’s small businesses and tens of thousands of workers who need relief until a widely available vaccine is available for our friends, our families, and our colleagues.
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