MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Oregon restaurants are back open to customers, but in most counties you’ll have to dine outside.
2020 has certainly been a trying year for many restaurant and businesses. Owners have had to survive months off to-go orders. That was again the case for the past two weeks.
“A lot of these restaurants in Portland are so small, and they’re mom and pop places and to-go is just... it’s really hard to survive off to-go. Most restaurants can’t,” said Brenda Kallien, the general manager of The Matador in southeast Portland.
On Thursday, Oregon shifted from Gov. Kate Brown’s “freeze” order to each county being placed in one of four risk categories. Most counties, including Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington, are in the extreme-risk category.
In that category, some outdoor dining is allowed at restaurants. This is a shift from what was supposed to be a four-week freeze in Multnomah County that would only allow restaurants to operate on to-go orders.
Kallien says the constant change has been difficult to navigate.
“It’s not like you just open a restaurant. I’ve laid off 30 employees twice and had to try and get people back and get liquor and get food and wasting food. It’s just a lot on the businesses,” she said.
Kallien says she spoke to many customers who did not even know the restaurant had opened back up Thursday.
Some regulars did brave the December cold, though, to visit their usual spot.
“We’re glad they’re still alive and still serving food that we like. Everyone in the neighborhood’s struggling, so everyone’s just doing the best they can, so we’re happy to support them,” said Joseph Reed, who was eating outside with his mother around lunch time.
Reed says eating outside in December isn’t something he’s used to, but he’s glad to be supporting his neighborhood favorites.
“It’s weird, but I’m here with my mother, so I want things to be safe for her,” said Reed.
Kallein says that dining outside isn’t ideal in the winter, but at least it gets people in the door.
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