Pandemic heat burns Portland restaurants

Coronavirus

Some restaurants won't be able to meet requirements once they're able to reopen

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is famous for its creative restaurants but many of them are starting to close their doors for good as the pandemic takes a permanent toll on the city’s iconic industry. 

Some big names recently announced they are closing indefinitely including Clyde Common in Downtown Portland, which had been in business for nearly 13 years. Beast in Northwest Portland owned by James Beard award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy is also not expected to reopen. 

These eateries and many others aren’t just affected by the current closure—but by the restrictions they’ll face once they’re allowed to reopen. When that day comes, restaurants will be required to have 50-75% fewer customers at a time and also provide enough space to meet physical distancing rules. 

The owner of the Arleta Library Cafe in Southeast Portland told KOIN 6 News his space is too small to eventually reopen under the distancing requirements.

“If your revenue goes to 50% in this restaurant industry—I need everyone watching this to understand top line revenue—restaurants make 10% profitability at most. If you take out half that revenue, that’s -40%,” explained Pomeroy. “You’re going to see a ton of closures coming.” 

Pomeroy is a leader in a national independent restaurant coalition currently lobbying Congress for a stabilization fund to help restaurants as they make changes to survive. 

“What we don’t want to do is see these creative awesome restaurants that have been around for 50 years that are cool mom and pop restaurants or these brand new places that are so amazing showcasing food we have never had before—we don’t want to lose that diversity and honestly that is at risk,” Pomeroy said.

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