PORTLAND, OR – Oregon governor Kate Brown said it’s time to once again shut down the state. The governor has announce 15 of the state’s largest counties will be going into the “extreme risk” category and indoor dining will once again be banned.
With spring coming and most of America ready to come out from under the excessive COVID-19 lockdowns, Oregon is going the opposite direction and Jason Brandt, head of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association is not happy about the news.
“Yet again, Oregon Governor Kate Brown punished local restaurants announcing another wave of indoor dining bans in 15 counties starting Friday, April 30. Current coronavirus outbreaks as reported by the Oregon Health Authority have been tied to education institutions, health care settings, private social gatherings and manufacturing facilities. However, Oregon’s plan and ongoing risk categories continue to target and penalize restaurants, gyms, and fitness centers as the predominant set of restrictions deemed necessary to mitigate virus spread. There have been no super spreader cases tied to these environments at any point in the over 13-month pandemic in Oregon,” Brandt said.
“Restaurants are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees and customers dining indoors,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “It is impossible to run a restaurant two weeks at a time let alone one week at a time which is now Governor Brown’s plan for the coming weeks. The move by the Governor’s Office is tone deaf and offensive to tens of thousands of Oregonians working in restaurants and bars across our state attempting to pay their bills. COVID-19 closures and restrictions on indoor dining are clobbering Oregon’s restaurants, bars and hospitality sector. We’ve seen more than 1,000 close because of the pandemic recession. The uncertainty and arbitrary nature of targeting restaurants has made it impossible for these local businesses to plan during a time when they’re already struggling to survive. The Governor should stop blaming restaurants as the source of COVID-19 spikes. It is blatant discrimination against our local businesses. Instead, we should focus on what we know will work – vaccinating all Oregonians.”
Although she is closing the restaurant industry, Brown said she’s on the right track to reopen the economy by the end of June.
“I intend to fully reopen our economy by the end of June, and the day is approaching when my emergency orders can eventually be lifted. How quickly we get there is up to each and every one of us doing our part. Over 1.7 million Oregonians have received at least one dose of vaccine, and over 1.2 million are fully vaccinated against this deadly disease,” Brown said.
Brown blamed the shut down on Oregonians who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“But the overwhelming majority of our new COVID-19 cases are from people who have not yet been vaccinated. Younger, unvaccinated Oregonians are now showing up in our hospitals with severe cases of COVID-19. Right now, more than ever, as we see the path over the peak of the spring surge and down the other side, we need Oregonians to step up and take on the personal responsibility to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are the best way to protect yourself, your friends, and your loved ones. They are also the quickest path toward lifting restrictions,” She said.