EUGENE, Ore. -- After Governor Kate Brown implemented another set of restrictions, local businesses are faced with some tough realities: Will they be able to financially survive?
The two-week freeze begins Wednesday and lasts until December 2. However, for some counties, the freeze will most likely be extended even longer.
The new rules will affect Oregonians day-to-day lives, but it weighs especially heavy for restaurants and gyms just before the holidays.
Fitness 1440 in Eugene is approaching its 3-year anniversary. Throughout this year, co-owners and sisters Catherine and Coty Richardson have made all types of changes to stay afloat.
“It’s stressful,” Catherine said. “To put it in a nutshell, it’s stressful. It takes a lot of time and energy to decide how to operate, how to move forward and how to provide a safe space for our members. It’s a lot of financial burden.”
Launching and operating Fitness 1440 in Eugene had been a goal of Catherine and Coty's for years. However, for all that 2020 has brought them, this is definitely not the news they wanted to hear.
“Just going through closures has set us behind in a lot of bills we pay every month,” Catherine said. “The financial burden is huge. Going through that, trying to find out how to stay afloat, how to keep our business afloat and also keep our home life afloat is stressful.”
They received numerous messages from members within minutes of Friday’s press conference where Brown made the announcement.
"We have members who are also uncertain and want answers that we don't have,” Coty said.
They said they expected the freeze to come, as cases in Lane County have risen significantly. However, they fear it could end up lasting longer than two weeks and eventually put them under.
“We’ve powered through it, and we will continue to power through it,” Coty said. “That’s just our mentality, and that’s who we are.”
Through the frustration and uncertainty of what is next, the Richardson sisters said this has made them stronger and more aware of how to prepare for the future.
Sherri Thieben is the owner and operator of Park Street Cafe in Eugene, which has almost reached 15 years of service.
“You definitely have to roll with the punches,” Thieben said.
She hopes the new rules will make a difference and said she’s remaining optimistic.
“I just want COVID to go away,” Thieben said. “If having everyone stay home for two weeks...I’d like to believe that will solve some problems but I'm not sure. Whatever it takes, I just want us to get back to more of a sense of normalcy.”
Park Street Cafe was forced to close down in March until given the green light to reopen under limitations. Their full menu will still be offered and they’ll be open for takeout and delivery.
“On a normal Saturday, we’d be bursting at the seams," Thieben said. "Today, I’ve probably had 10 dine-in customers all day. I think even though we have until next Wednesday, people are really taking it seriously."
Thieben said she is grateful for the support she has received from regulars and even those who don’t live in Eugene anymore. She shared one way community members can support local businesses who will have to close their dining rooms.
“Whenever you can, place an order through the restaurant and go pick it up,” Thieben said. It makes the biggest difference in the world."
The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association said that these new restrictions will most likely cause numerous restaurants to close permanently.