PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the omicron variant sends COVID-19 cases surging in Oregon, another popular Portland business has been forced to temporarily close its doors due to staffing shortages — brunch spot Mother’s Bistro & Bar.
“We had a couple staff members get the virus, and I said if one more gets it, that’s it,” said owner Lisa Schroeder. “I don’t want to be an incubator for the virus.”
According to Schroeder, they could have still operated on limited staff, but she still felt closing for the rest of the month was the right thing to do.
Then, there was the question of what to do with all the hundreds of pounds of ingredients that would perish.
“To me, it’s a sin to waste food,” Schroeder said. “With a restaurant called Mother’s, we do not throw away food.”
The restaurant found a way to keep feeding Portland — this time, through a massive donation.
“I know about the wonderful Blanchet House and we called them up and asked if they could use the food we couldn’t and they did,” she said.
Schroeder’s chef loaded up his truck and drove the food to the nonprofit, which provides meals and services to those in need in Portland’s Old Town district.
Mother’s isn’t the only local restaurant feeling the impacts of sick calls. The owner of South x Northwest told KOIN 6 News they are struggling with staffing shortages, too. They’ve also had multiple break-ins.
Shine Distillery staff said they made the tough call to operate on limited hours after learning two of their employees had to quarantine.
The ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases is just the latest gut punch in what’s been a tough year and a half for restaurants.
Schroeder said fewer people are already dining out because of COVID. Now, the bistro is set to lose whatever profits they would have made this month.
“It’s a very expensive decision to close,” Schroeder said. “It’s not one we take lightly.”