PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission just made it a whole lot easier for some restaurants and bars to do business during the COVID-10 pandemic.
The government agency is speeding through applications for expansion of service areas, allowing alcohol to be served on sidewalks and streets. The move would allow businesses to help their customers social distance while they’re eating and drinking, and for some, increase the number of people they’re able to serve under normal circumstances.
Bantam Tavern in northwest Portland says the move is crucial to their operations. The co-owner says while they cannot be open to dine-in customers right now, as Multnomah County has not entered Phase 1 of reopening, they were already planning to apply to expand the sale of alcohol to their parking lot before the OLCC dropped this application.
The bar typically only has three tables inside and a large bar top. Phase 1 reopening guidelines would reduce their capacity by about 90-percent, Tom Foskett says. Foskett says the move outside adds about eight tables, which helps tremendously.
“It’s actually critical for us, being as small of a business as we are,” Foskett said. “We absolutely would not be able to operate properly without the restrictions. And don’t get me wrong, we’re in favor of them, we absolutely think it’s important that we protect the public right now, but the OLCC allowing us this flexibility to expand into the parking lot really allows us to sustain our staff completely, fully.”
The OLCC says these licenses can continue past the health crisis if owners want them to, and if they still have permission from the owner of the area they’ve expanded to.
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