Restaurant Operators Remain Baffled by Disproportionate, Inequitable Restrictions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2021
Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
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Wilsonville, OR– This past week, Oregon State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger provided a COVID update to the Oregon Senate Committee on Health Care alongside Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen.
As part of the official testimony, Dr. Sidelinger and Director Allen were asked a series of questions by members of the State Senate serving on the committee. Of particular importance was the answer to a question about environments deemed responsible for increased case counts.
Dr. Sidelinger referenced spread in multiple settings and cited 257 new outbreaks during the course of the past week. He said 30% of cases are attributed to single case outbreaks associated with schools, 12% are attributed to two or more case outbreaks associated with schools, 4.5% of cases are attributed to recreational sports and sports teams, and only 3% are traced back to restaurants and bars. Director Allen also shared 60% of cases are sporadic with no additional information about where they originated.
Testimony continued including a summary statement from Director Allen who stated, “kids going back to school has led to more coronavirus, just not in school. It’s everything around it.”
If restaurants are not a leading cause of spread, owners and operators across the state are baffled why thousands of restaurants in 15 counties have indoor dining bans.
“It is clear from testimony that schools, not restaurants, are driving the overwhelming majority of new COVID cases,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “Nonetheless, restaurants, which are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees and customers dining indoors, are shut down indoors at thousands of locations across 15 counties despite a lack of evidence to suggest they’re the source of spread. You can’t justify putting thousands of people out of work in an entire sector of the economy when there’s no evidence it’s contributing to the spike in cases. It makes no sense.”
While the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will help some restaurants, the demand and urgency for aid far outpaces the amount of funding available. The Small Business Administration admitted they expect the federal funds to go quickly as restaurants across the country struggle.
For more information on the efforts of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association please visit OregonRLA.org.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which before COVID-19 provided over 180,000 paychecks to working Oregonians.