Statewide Industry Shutdown of Dining Rooms Does Not Add Up
Wilsonville, OR– On Friday, the Oregon Governor’s office announced wide ranging closures of all indoor and outdoor dining rooms across Oregon starting November 18. The announcement on November 13th came one day after a newly published report from the Oregon Health Authority identifying 2,893 Covid-19 cases associated with workplaces. Of those cases, 22 were tied to restaurants representing 0.76% of current workplace outbreaks.
“Our industry, along with the fitness industry, are the official targets of the latest directives from Governor Brown’s office,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “We desperately need an explanation, and we are not getting straight answers. If 0.76% of active workplace outbreaks represent a need to shut down an entire industry, we have a real time crisis in how we are making regulatory decisions as a state.”
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has been an active partner in transforming thousands of hospitality environments to promote guest and employee safety. The industry continues to argue additional restrictions on controlled environments pushes virus spread to uncontrolled environments.
“We are running out of ways to express our deep concern about the correlation between dining room shutdowns and private behavior,” said Brandt. “If human interaction is going to take place during the course of the holiday season, then it is much more advantageous to have those interactions take place in controlled environments.”
The state association continues to advocate for necessary adjustments to restaurant dining room protocol. For example, Governor Brown’s November 13th press conference stated private gatherings should be limited to 2 households or a maximum of 6 people. ORLA is advocating the same exact standard be allowed immediately in dining rooms across the state.
“Why are we allowing 2 private households to gather with up to 6 people in an uncontrolled environment and closing dining rooms when those same interactions can take place in a controlled dining room environment with oversight from a third party?” said Brandt. “We stand ready to help in getting this state back on track as thousands of livelihoods are at stake.”
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of approximately 10,000 foodservice locations and 2,000 lodging establishments with a workforce prior to COVID of 183,191.