Community reacts to Lane County’s move back to high risk

Businesses are sharing how the change will affect them.

Posted: Apr 20, 2021 5:32 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2021 6:48 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- After Lane County Public Health's announcement today that the community will be bumped back to the high risk level on Friday, community members and business owners in our area are sharing their thoughts.

Throughout the pandemic, doors have opened and closed, leading businesses and residents to navigate the restrictions as they come and go.


Here’s what Eugene resident Jim Wescott had to say.

“I was afraid that was going to happen when I was watching the daily numbers going higher and higher every day in Lane County,” Westcott said. “It was disappointing. I was pretty sure we were going to go back to high risk.”

He gave an example of what was going through his mind when learning about the change.

“My feeling was it was a lot like the long-distance runner who stumbles before he makes it to the finish line,” Westcott said. “We’re so close. If we could just hold on and keep going a little bit longer we're going to be fine. Vaccinations are going at a rapid rate and are now available to everyone. We need to ramp that up, but it's going very fast.”

KEZI 9 News also talked to Chelsy Navarro, who owns Chacha’s Hawaiian Grill in Eugene.

“With the sunshine out, we’ve seen a big boost in business,” Navarro said. “People have been utilizing our outdoor dining. Now that people have been getting vaccines, more people are able to get out and about a little bit more. Things have been going great.”

With the change in risk level, she said they will continue to remain strong but moving backwards is frustrating.

“This whole pandemic has been hard for a lot of people,” Navarro said. “We’re just grateful to still be here and doing what we love. We’re going to stick around and do what we love every day for the people, families and just try to have a good attitude about it.”

Brian Zientara, owner of the Emerald Lanes bowling alley in Eugene, shared his thoughts with KEZI.

“We’re still allowed up to 50 people in here,” Zientara said. “Business will be as usual because we’re just using half the lanes now. The number of people doesn't really affect us because we still have 50.”

However, he said people can’t get too comfortable.

“It's if we go to extreme, then we’re in trouble,” Zientara said. “Then we’ll shut down because we can only have 24 people in here. At that point, it’s not worth being open.”

He said everyone is in this together, and they’re doing everything they can to be safe and make sure people have a good time.

The change in risk level will go into effect on Friday.

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