PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association is pushing for bars and restaurants to be able to stay open later and for larger venues to allow more people inside.
"The bars I work at are really struggling right now," Shawon Neal said. "If they can pay their rent, I can pay my rent."
He said every little bit helps. Right now, statewide in Oregon, restaurants, and bars have to close by 10 p.m., and with social distancing, limit the number of people inside to 100 max.
The president of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association says hundreds of operators across the state are calling on the Governor to change the curfew from 10:00 p.m. to midnight as the industry continues to prove an ability to maintain safe, controlled environments. The same statement went on to say, limiting the number of people inside a venue regardless of its size makes no sense, saying that it should be removed and replaced with the existing social distancing policies.
Those FOX 12 spoke to on Mississippi Avenue said the curfew is really the clincher.
"There's a large part of our business that happens after 10:00 p.m., and it's a massive asset to us as well as providing more employment opportunity and extended hours for our staff and everybody else," Dan Hart, owner of Prost!, said.
"Those two hours are literally the bars being able to pay rent. If you can make an extra five to a thousand dollars, that's gonna help keep these places open," Neal said.
In the past, the Oregon Health Authority has mentioned concern that if bars were open late into the night, people could lose track of how much they're drinking and be less likely to follow precautions.
But Hart said bars are already held to a very high standard when it comes to over-service and dealing with customers.
"That doesn't change after ten o'clock, it doesn't change before 10 o'clock, it's all the same standard, it's what we do daily, our staff is trained," he said.
FOX 12 reached out to the Governor's Office Saturday night to see if they had any response to these asks but didn't immediately hear back.
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