Experts urge caution as businesses defy Covid restrictions

Business expert Sam Gross said he knows there are many business owners who would rather be open. However, he said, it won’t be worth it in the end.

Posted: Dec 9, 2020 6:45 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore.--As some businesses across the state choose to reopen in defiance of Gov. Kate Brown’s latest Covid restrictions, business experts are urging caution.

Sam Gross, an advisor for the Umpqua Business Center, told KEZI 9 News that he’s worked with more than 100 small businesses as they struggle through the pandemic.

He said he knows there are many business owners out there who would rather open up against the Governor. However, he said it won’t be worth it in the end.

“The average restaurant only makes 5 to 10 percent profit margin,” he said. “If you did $100,000 a month in sales, which is quite a bit for a lot of these restaurants, you’re only going to have $5,000 to $10,000 in profit.”

He said he watched this scenario play out just a few months ago when Casey’s Restaurant chose to reopen against the Governor’s first shut down. OHSA fined the owners $14,000 for the violation.

“If you get a $14,000 fine, that’s two months down the drain,” he said.

He said business owners must also worry about losing their liquor license, lottery license or business license, which would shut them down for good.

As for a businesses Constituational right to remain open, Dallas, Texas-based attorney Quentin Brogdon said companies must always provide a safe environment for their workers.

“When you begin the legal analysis of the duties of an employer under Covid, you begin with the OSHA regulations that employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace for their employers,” Brogdon said.

Gross is also the owner of Logger’s Taphouse in Roseburg. He said he’s doing everything he can to work around the restriction in order to bring in more customers.

“Doing things like ordering heaters, tents for outside, outdoor lighting, things like that so that we can maximize as much sales as we can during this shut down.”

He said he strongly advises other business owners to do the same.

“Think outside the box, see what you can do,” said Gross. “Reach out to the business center, reach out to other businesses, because we’re all in this together.”

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