Restaurant owners frustrated with extreme risk level

He said this decision was a huge blow for he and his team, as they'd just begun to get adjusted to the lower level restrictions.

Posted: Apr 28, 2021 6:43 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Starting Friday, restaurants in 15 Oregon counties will transition back to extreme risk level requirements, including in Lane County.

RELATED: LANE AND LINN COUNTIES MOVING TO EXTREME RISK

Steve Sheehan, the co-owner of Elk Horn Brewery in Eugene, said he and his peers believe something has to change with COVID-19 restrictions. According to him, the government needs to re-evaluate.

"I don't understand how other states are able to get back to normal and we're not," Sheehan said.

He said this decision was a huge blow for him and his team, as they'd just begun to get adjusted to the lower level restrictions. Contrary to the previous risk levels, indoor dining will not be allowed at all, which means restaurants will have to find different ways to account for that revenue change, and many people will be laid off. 

"To see this news crushes not only me but the employees that count on me for a job," Sheehan said. 

He also said he's going to do his best to allow his employees to retain their positions, even if it means it's coming out of his own pockets.

KEZI 9 News received more than 500 comments on our Facebook post announcing the elevated risk level, and many of them were against the rule change.

Sheehan said the decision whether to patronize a restaurant or not should be left in the hands of the citizens themselves. He also vowed to follow the government's instructions.

"Mask up, sanitize down, and make the decision if they want to come," Sheehan said. 

Dozens of county commissioners across the state have sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown urging her to give counties more decision-making authority on COVID-19 restrictions. To read the full letter, CLICK HERE

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