Linn County businesses ready to reopen with risk level change

“I just hope the COVID cases stay down, because regardless of anyone's opinions on COVID -- if the numbers spike we get shut down again. That's a bigger problem to unfold.”

Posted: Feb 10, 2021 6:38 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2021 7:13 PM

LINN COUNTY, Ore. -- When Linn County gets bumped down to the high risk level on Friday, what will that mean for the businesses that have been navigating opening and closing over the past year?

KEZI 9 News spoke to several spots in Linn County to find out.

RELATED: LINN COUNTY DOWNGRADED TO HIGH RISK

The Albany Community Pool is just one of several places around town eagerly waiting to open its doors back up. People can expect a few big changes this time around.

Kim Lyddane is the director of Albany Parks and Recreation.

“This time last year we would actually be in meet season,” Lyddane said. “So there would be absolutely people on this deck packed shoulder to shoulder and swimmers all in the lanes.”

Now, 50 people will be allowed inside at a time. There will be limited times for swimming. Anything touched is sanitized directly after, and you have to wear a mask until you get in the water. Plus, there will also be regular temperature checks and screenings.

“People have just been really wanting to get back in the water, so we're thrilled that 50 people allows us to actually open the doors,” Lyddane said. “Flexibility has been key. Our staff has been absolutely amazing watching the guidelines and just trying to figure out what we need to do and what we need to tweak in order to make it doable.”

The Albany Community Pool will welcome guests on Monday, Feb. 15.

But what does the change mean for restaurants?

With Linn County having been at the extreme risk level, eateries have been limited to takeout and outdoor dining only. When the county drops down to the high risk level on Friday, the limits will allow indoor dining of up to 50 people or a maximum of 25% capacity.

KEZI 9 News talked to Alex Loomis, the general manager at Gamberetti’s Italian Restaurant.

“I just hope the COVID cases stay down because regardless of anyone's opinions on COVID, if the numbers spike we get shut down again,” Loomis said. “That's a bigger problem to unfold.”

Loomis said the restaurant plans to open up for indoor dining on Friday.

“The community has been more than supportive -- above and beyond our expectations on helping us and other restaurants out,” Loomis said. “They’ve been helping us tread water during these times. I couldn't thank them enough. We’re lucky to be in Albany.”

KEZI 9 News also spoke to leaders with Albany’s Historic Carousel and Museum.

The museum hasn’t been allowed guests since November of last year but opened up for private sessions this past weekend.

“We’re really hoping that our county can stay in this high category and not go back,” executive director Peggy Burris said. “It's really hard on my staff, my volunteers, but especially the community when we know families are so excited to start coming back.”

Now, up to 40 community members at a time will be able to experience the attraction beginning this Friday through this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests will be able to experience rides, take a tour, have lunch and even shop at the gift shop.

Of course, face coverings are required and social distancing will be made a priority.

“I'm hoping and trying to be optimistic that this is the beginning of getting back to what we're used to,” Burris said.

Linn County is one of 10 that are being lowered from extreme risk this week.

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