Restaurants prepare for the worst ahead of two-week freeze

Restaurants are feeling the effects of Gov. Kate Brown's upcoming two-week freeze.

Posted: Nov 16, 2020 8:50 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Restaurants are feeling the effects of Gov. Kate Brown's upcoming two-week freeze.

Elk Horn Brewery owner Stephen Sheehan said he was forced to lay off 15 employees. He said the restrictions will keep his restaurant from breaking even. With takeout-only, Elk Horn will be bringing in 5 to 10% of its pre-coronavirus income.

"Really it's pointless for me to stay open. And the only reason I do it, which most weeks we don't even break even, we keep going further in the hole, so I'm doing this so I can pay my few employees I have left so I don't have to send them to the unemployment line," Sheehan said. 

According to the Oregon Health Authority, restaurants account for less than 1% of workplace outbreaks in our state, 0.76% to be exact.

Jason Brandt with the Oregon Restaurants Association said the logic behind involving restaurants in the freeze just doesn't add up. 

"So are we really going to be controlling and managing virus spread by tacking on these additional restrictions? Or are we just creating more insult to injury for specific industries and not doing enough to control the ultimate problem? That's our biggest concern," said Brandt. 

Sheehan said how amazing it was when the community came together during the Oregon wildfires, and now restaurants are hoping to get the same help during this freeze. 

Elk Horn Brewery will still be putting on their Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans despite the lack of funds and staff. Contact Elk Horn Brewery at 541-505-8356 to donate. 

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