Restaurant owner staying ‘positive’ as capacity shrinks


MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — Restaurants in Clackamas and Multnomah counties will have to scale back capacity once again as the counties slide back into the state’s “High Risk” category.

Gov. Kate Brown said the upgraded risk levels will go into effect on Friday.

Clackamas County commissioners learned about the change during their policy session on Tuesday morning. They said they were aware of an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks but thought the county would be given a two week cautionary period to try and drive down case rates. This “cautionary period” would have given businesses more certainty for their operating plans. So, Clackamas County does not qualify since it’s been in the moderate risk level for six weeks.

Brown’s office told KOIN 6 News the two-week cautionary period applies to counties that have recently improved in risk level in the most recent two week period and now face a move back to a higher risk level.

Clackamas County Commissioner Paul Savas said they had been trying unsuccessfully for weeks to get the governor to define the cautionary period. “The definition that you just heard is a relatively new one,” he said. “That was not in place a week ago.”

Clackamas County has been in the “warning” weekly status since mid-March. The case rate has risen to 140 per 100,000 people in the last two weeks, which qualifies it as “High Risk.”

Carmen Meyer, the co-owner of Cha Cha Cha Milwaukie, said her restaurant is preparing to go from offering 50% capacity to 25% starting Friday. She said news of the county returning to “High Risk” was surprising but she feels “positive about it” as the community continues to show a lot of support.

“We feel like we are at the end of the tunnel,” Meyer said. “We need a little more time as people get vaccinated and we will feel more safe when we do that. It’s a good thing the governor is taking care of us and I feel positive about it.”

Meyer said the restaurant plans on setting up more outside tables as the weather continues to improve. They will also continue selling margaritas to-go.

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