PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Clackamas County is one of 15 counties preparing to move back to the “extreme risk” category at the end of the week and residents have mixed emotions.
The rollback means tighter restrictions for businesses such as gyms, bars and restaurants. Indoor dining will be prohibited and restaurants will only be allowed to offer limited outdoor seating and takeout.
Milwaukie bar and restaurant patrons Annie Ory and Robert Bach are supportive of Governor Kate Brown’s decision to move Clackamas County back to extreme risk.
“She’s following the science,” said Annie. “So you know we just have to do what we have to do and it’s pretty outside so it’s fine to sit outside.”
“I just really appreciated that we are all looking out for each other and that’s why we are going back into some new rules and hopefully it’s short,” said Robert.
But Scott O’Donnell of Portland is concerned the shutdown will be hard on businesses and worries restaurant and bar owners will have a hard time planning around Oregon’s variable springtime weather.
“The governor has a tough job and I don’t begrudge that but it’s a little frustrating,” Scott said. “It’s just tough to understand exactly the science justifying the shutdown — if you look across the country, our figures are pretty low and I support local businesses and it’s just a little frustrating. I understand caution is a good thing but maybe it’s a little overboard.”
Milwaukie resident Julie Miller is frustrated by the timing of the rollback.
“We all hope for like a herd immunity but until everybody’s vaccinated, that’s not going to happen,” Julie said. “At this point, no, any reaction to what’s going on is already too late because it’s a reaction. If you see it starting to go up, that’s when you do things — not when it gets out of control.”
Robert hopes this is the last time counties will have to go through this phase of tight restrictions.
“More and more people are getting vaccinated,” he said. “So we just have to get through it one more time and hopefully emerge with more people protected.”
County Chair Tootie Smith has criticized Brown’s handling of the pandemic, saying it’s time to buckle down and reopen. Brown said the restrictions are due to an attempt to curb a steep rise in cases and preserve hospital capacity.