[December 1, 2020] - County Statuses Updated for Business Operations Starting Dec. 3
On December 1, the Oregon Health Authority updated their map of Oregon counties with associated risk categories.
View County Risk Map
View the Business Operations Document
Outdoor Dining Guidance
Starting Thursday, December 3rd, Oregon counties will be categorized into four different and distinct areas regarding closing times, indoor and outdoor dining allowance and seating capacity.
For counties in the “Extreme” category who can only offer Outdoor Dining, there may be some confusion as to what defines an “outdoor space”.
Based on the latest definition from the Oregon Health Authority, “outdoor space” means an open-air space which may have a temporary or fixed cover, such as an awning or roof, so long as the space has at least 75% of the square footage of its sides open for airflow.
Restaurants will still need to adhere to the other restrictions on outdoor dining which include:
*Closing time excludes take-out and delivery service
[November 25, 2020] - New Developments for Oregon's Hospitality Industry
Earlier today on November 25, Governor Kate Brown announced new standards impacting Oregon’s hospitality industry starting Thursday, December 3. Once the 2-Week Freeze is over on Wednesday, December 2, operators across this state will have different operational guidelines associated with their business location(s).
This new health and safety framework uses four different risk levels for counties based on their level of COVID-19 spread—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk—effective December 3.
On Monday, November 30, the Oregon Health Authority will reexamine county data to determine which counties qualify for each risk level on December 3, following the end of the 2-Week Freeze. In each subsequent two-week period, the Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly, but county risk levels will not change until the end of the second week. In the first week, counties will be given Warning Week data to prepare for potential risk level changes. In the second week, county risk levels will be updated based on that week’s data. More detailed information will be posted before December 3.
VIEW COUNTY RISK LEVELS IN A TABLE OR IN A MAP
(scroll to "Effective 12/3: Oregon Risk and Protection Framework" section)
VIEW GUIDANCE BY ACTIVITY IN A TABLE
There are significant developments included in today’s announcement for all risk assessment columns ranging from Low Risk to Extreme Risk. Each of the 4 columns provide details for restaurants on how they can operate and ORLA is grateful for the inclusion of outdoor dining in all risk categories as well as an extension of Oregon’s curfew of 10pm to 11pm or Midnight depending on the risk category a county is in. Please review the linked documents and reach out to your Regional Representatives with any questions.
*Note: ORLA remains in contact with the Governor’s Office about the importance of turning on Video Lottery Terminals or VLTs. Once we have clarity about the plan for VLTs we will communicate the news to our Video Lottery Retailers around the state. Lottery revenues provide important revenue for critical state services while also providing much needed revenue for Oregon’s restaurant and bar operators. We remain committed to advocating for the importance of VLTs for both purposes with the ability to wear face coverings at all times while machines are being used by players.
[November 24, 2020] - ORLA Remains Committed to Working Through Covid-19 Realities
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.
[November 20, 2020] - ORLA and the Restaurant Law Center Sue to Prevent Ongoing Industry Devastation
Hello ORLA Members, Friends, and Colleagues:
In an emergency meeting of the ORLA Board of Directors this week, your state association for the hospitality industry has made the decision to move forward as a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit with the Restaurant Law Center against Kate Brown in her official capacity as Governor of the State of Oregon.
We do not take this stand lightly and we realize the seriousness of fighting for our rights as an industry during an ongoing public health emergency. I want you all to know directly from my office that partnerships and collaboration matter to us – especially with the Governor’s Office and their professional staff. We are taking this action due to ongoing concerns about the way in which decisions are being made as a state in the fight to save lives and mitigate virus spread.
Executive Order 20-65, published online this past Tuesday afternoon, November 17 with an effective date of Wednesday, November 18 implementing a statewide two-week shutdown of indoor and outdoor restaurant dining rooms is rife with inequity.
Every one of us has a leadership role to play. Your friends, family, and professional circles deserve to know more from you as a leader as to how the ongoing health emergency is creating growing inequity in our ability to operate small businesses and keep Oregonians employed.
Of considerable concern is the latest news first reported by KGW earlier this week that the numbers we are using to form the basis for our economic decision making as a state are not accurate. According to KGW, individuals who need multiple Covid tests are only counted once regardless of how many tests they have taken as the crisis continues. The result of that flaw means the positivity rate in Oregon is inaccurate as thousands of Covid tests are allegedly not included in the calculation to determine our positivity rate. Without an accurate positivity rate, it seems clear we will have an incredibly difficult time implementing equitable restrictions in both private and public settings based on data.
You can access the KGW story here to better understand the gravity of this situation:
As we move through the process of fighting for your rights in federal district court, I want to thank you all for doing everything you can to stay strong for yourself, your friends, and your employees. The way you approach your leadership journey today will shape your approach for years to come. Our fight is for equitable rights where operators can continue employing people in Oregon’s dining rooms in a way that aligns with the rules established for other industries and for our private residences. As we all know, if Oregonians can gather in groups of up to 6 people across two households in private indoor and outdoor settings, then Oregon’s restaurant operators should be able to serve patrons in groups based on that same standard with physical distance between dining parties. That is our goal – to establish equity in our approach as a state while our industry continues to make significant sacrifices as part of the ongoing emergency health crisis.
You can find ORLA’s suit asking a judge for a temporary restraining order against the latest round of restrictions through the following link options:
The Complaint with Exhibit
The Complaint without Exhibit
Our press release to the media regarding the filing of the suit can be found here:
In the spirit of collaboration, there is one thing we all collectively can continue advocating for – action by our federal leaders to pass another relief package. Governor Brown’s office, ORLA, and other business groups are pleading with our federal elected leaders to provide this much needed relief as we wait for several vaccines to move through their approval and distribution process. Another round of Paycheck Protection Program dollars and passage of the Restaurants Act is absolutely crucial in our fight for operators across this state. As part of your leadership journey, we ask you to reach out to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as well as your Oregon Congressional leader to request this action. Contact information for your Oregon federal elected leaders can be found through the following links:
Contact US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):
Contact US Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon):
Contact District 1 Congressional Leader Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon):
Contact District 2 Congressional Leader Greg Walden (R-Oregon):
Contact District 3 Congressional Leader Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon):
Contact District 4 Congressional Leader Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon):
Contact District 5 Congressional Leader Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon):
ORLA is here for restaurant and lodging operators of all shapes and sizes. Our industry will continue to represent the fabric of an incredible American story while leading the way for other industries in embracing the many ways in which our culture is changing. With more female owned and minority owned businesses than any other industry in our country, I know together we will continue to lead by example.
One more important note. ORLA has recently established a new formal partnership with Oregon’s Small Business Development Centers. Expert restaurant advisors are standing by to assist you in wrestling with the difficult challenges facing you right now. Coronavirus Relief Funds have made this new partnership possible. You can visit the following webpage to sign up for no cost, confidential one on one consulting in less than 5 minutes and the professional staff working with Oregon’s Small Business Development Centers will follow up. Regardless of your level of success in the industry, I encourage you to take a hard look at this resource. An outside perspective may help in uncovering a new idea that allows you to hold on a little longer until a vaccine arrives. You can sign up through the following webpage:
My best to you and your families this holiday season. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in your time of need.
Jason Brandt, President & CEO
[November 18, 2020] - ORLA's Statement on $55 million relief fund announced by the Governor
Another shutdown of Oregon’s restaurants, bars and foodservice establishments is crippling an already broken and damaged industry. While other industries in Oregon have experienced revenue losses on average of five percent from last year, the hospitality industry in Oregon has experienced revenue losses on average of at least thirty percent.
Because of this massive economic disparity, the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, sent a letter to the Legislative Joint Emergency Board earlier this week asking for the immediate creation of a $75 million Hospitality Relief Fund to help operators and their employees survive another shutdown.
Hospitality businesses need immediate help. We cannot wait for February and hope a relief package will materialize and be approved at the federal level. This is an emergency and we need the Joint Emergency Board to take action now to save our industry and the tens of thousands of Oregonians who rely on it to put food on the table, pay their rent or mortgage and provide for their families’ needs.
[November 13, 2020] - CEO Message Regarding Dining Shutdown
To Oregon Hospitality Operators:
Today’s news announcing a statewide shutdown of indoor and outdoor restaurant dining for 2 weeks starting Wednesday, November 18 is incredibly tough news to take for our employees, their families, and the viability of our business operations. We stand with you as staff at the state association in finding our way through what has proven to be the most difficult crisis our industry has faced.
Many of you have opportunities to take advantage of revamped systems that allow you to ramp up curbside, takeout, drive thru, and delivery services as we move through this shutdown period and the upcoming winter months. Make sure to use every tool in your tool kit to ask your customers to join you in keeping the bones of your business intact.
We continue to be asked to make significant sacrifices as an industry due to the nature of our business models. The prolonged duration of the pandemic and the state’s response is rife with inequities and we continue to be asked to carry significant business burdens for the betterment of society. This morning the Governor’s office told us we are reaching the utilization of approximately 80% of our hospital capacity in the Portland Metro area. We have said all along our decision making as a state should focus on hospitalization utilization and not on variations in new and presumptive daily case counts.
Oregon’s business community is sending the following letter to Governor Brown’s office in response to the latest round of restrictions. As part of our outreach we identify action steps the Governor can take now to help lead our state through the ongoing challenges we face.
In addition, it is our duty to pursue reasonable modifications to fees and other expenses restaurants incur in normal years and ask those be adjusted given emergency declarations enacted to date. In addition, we hope to prop up a hospitality relief fund through the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature to assist our operators as we await more action by the federal government on a second round of Paycheck Protection Program dollars.
Please reach out to your Regional Representatives from ORLA who are there to assist you in finding a path forward. We stand with you in navigating the tough decisions resulting in further restrictions directly impacting our ability to survive and contribute to our local economies across the State of Oregon.
Jason Brandt, President & CEO
Your ORLA Regional Representatives:
[November 6, 2020] - Response to the New Restaurant Reductions to Indoor Capacities
To Industry Operators in Oregon:
Today’s press conference by Governor Brown has us deeply concerned as your industry association. It was announced there will be a new 2 week restriction on restaurants effective Wednesday, November 11 in the following counties: Jackson, Umatilla, Malheur, Marion, and Multnomah Counties. [Update: on Nov. 9, four more counties were added including, Baker, Clackamas, Union and Washington.] (See Reopening Guidance — Specific Counties on Pause)
The restaurant restrictions announced today are as follows for these counties:
We understand how hard you are working to create a safe and welcoming environment for your employees and customers. I would argue there has never been a more important time for the role restaurants play as part of the mental health equation as our state suffers through a prolonged statewide health emergency.
The new restrictions enacted by the Governor’s office today require an immediate response by your state association. As a result, we have finalized the following press release and plan to engage in every media opportunity made available to us and make sure your viewpoints are appropriately represented. You can view our press release here:
Today’s announcement includes status quo operations for our industry in some counties while others will have to endure further restrictions. For restaurant operators located in counties where we have new 50-person indoor restrictions we ask that you join us in taking an action step. As we continue to engage the media, it will be important to showcase the paychecks that will be lost in our industry due to the new restrictions. The data provided each week by the Oregon Health Authority shows us where virus spread is taking place outside the private, unregulated settings that remain culprit #1.
We need to make sure and provide broader perspective on what happens in Oregon when we institute new regulations not based on available data. We encourage you to join us in our weekly review process of the Oregon Health Authority data provided through the following link. The latest published report is from this past Wednesday, November 4, is available here: COVID-19 Weekly Report.
Page 22 out of 44 showcases active outbreaks associated with workplaces in Oregon. Out of approximately 75 outbreaks notated in Table 7 of the report, only 2 are from our industry. We need to assist the Governor’s Office in understanding the deep economic impacts arbitrary rules have on our operations.
Please take one minute and share how the new restrictions will impact your operation (if you are located in an affected county). We hope to keep track of business and county locations alongside paychecks lost at those locations as a result of the new restrictions.
[November 4, 2020] - ORLA 2020 Election Update
In a momentous election year, Oregon’s vote-by-mail system, in place for over twenty years, appears to have once again performed as intended. Oregon’s Secretary of State is reporting over 80% of Oregonians voted in this election with some counties reporting almost 90% participation.
Like all of you, we are carefully monitoring the latest updates on election results at every level: Federal, State and Local. Below is an update from the Government Affairs team on the latest results and which races we are still watching. We will provide updates as events unfold and as new information becomes available.
Regardless of who occupies the White House or who takes leadership of the House and Senate, the hospitality industry has an array of immediate needs as well as long-term opportunities and challenges that must be addressed in Washington. Similarly, we need to work with our newly elected leaders here in Oregon alongside those re-elected to office to help ensure outcomes for the hospitality industry if we are to survive.
These are the key takeaways as of mid-day Wednesday, Nov. 3rd. Bottom line, whatever the outcome of the presidential election, it appears likely the House will remain under Democratic control (with potentially Republican gains) and the Senate will remain under Republican control (with potentially Democratic gains).
The White House
The race for the White House continues to narrow. If President Trump retains his slight leads in the red to purple states of North Carolina (15 electoral votes) and Georgia (16 electoral votes), all eyes will shift to the small handful of battlegrounds:
Vice President Biden’s safest route to 270 is to secure Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada, in which case he doesn’t need North Carolina or Pennsylvania. Michigan and Wisconsin may be announced later today and Nevada possibly tomorrow.
In Oregon, Vice-President Joe Biden beat President Trump 57%-40% to earn Oregon’s seven Electoral votes.
Republicans started the cycle at a distinct disadvantage, defending 23 Senate seats, compared to 12 for Democrats. Moreover, only two Democratic seats were ever in play, whereas Republicans had to aggressively defend 12 seats, including several in blue and purple states.
So where does that leave us in terms of the Senate’s balance of power? If Joe Biden wins, Senate Republicans must hold their remaining net losses to one seat in order to retain control.
Contrary to conventional and media wisdom, it was a positive night for the House GOP. Not enough progress to win back majority control of the House, but many seats were won where victory was far from certain. With several decisions outstanding, as of this writing, the Republican candidates have officially defeated seven Democratic incumbents and only lost two seats, which were the result of redistricting in North Carolina.
Oregon Secretary of State
In an open seat, State Senator Shemia Fagan (D) defeated State Senator Kim Thatcher to win this seat currently held by a Republican, Bev Clarno, appointed to serve out the remainder of Dennis Richardson’s term as he passed away partway through his service. Fagan won the seat 51%-43%.
Incumbent Tobias Read (D) defeated second-time challenger Jeff Gudman 52%-41% to retain his position as Oregon State Treasurer.
Oregon Attorney General
Incumbent Ellen Rosenblum (D) defeated her challenger, Michael Cross 57% to 41% to retain her position as Oregon Attorney General.
State Senate Key Races
Oregon Democrats currently hold 18 of the 30 State Senate seats, allowing them a supermajority. This means they do not need any Republicans to pass tax bills or other legislation. If the Democrats were to win two more seats, they would have a quorum-proof majority, meaning they could pass legislation without needing any Republicans to show up and vote.
In 2020, there were three key races for both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans had to defend two seats, one in the Salem area and one in Central Oregon and Democrats had to try and hold an open seat on the coast just to maintain the current makeup.
Here are those races and where they currently sit:
State Representative Key Races
Oregon Democrats currently hold 38 of the 60 State House seats, allowing them a supermajority. This means they do not need any Republicans to pass tax bills or other legislation. If the Democrats were to win two more seats, they would have a quorum-proof majority, meaning they could pass legislation without needing any Republicans to show up and vote.
In 2020, there were four key races for both Democrats and Republicans. Two open seats, one on the southern coast and one on the northern coast and two seats Republicans were defending, one in the Salem area and one in Bend.
Here are those races and where they currently sit:
In Oregon, at the Federal level, incumbents won and Republicans retained Congressman Greg Walden’s seat meaning there is effectively no change.
At the State level, Democrats retained Attorney General, State Treasurer and took back the Secretary of State position they lost in 2016.
In the State Legislature, Republicans are leading in two of the three key Senate races, but all are too close to call as of this writing. If the numbers hold, there will be no change in the makeup of the State Senate.
In the Oregon House, Republicans lost one race, won two races, and are leading in the fourth. If the numbers hold, Republicans will net one seat changing the makeup of that chamber to 37 Democrats and 23 Republicans which is still a supermajority.
[To continue reading previous blog posts from ORLA's CEO, click "Read More" to the right]