Portland restaurants will have to cut indoor capacity again as cases increase

After a brief stint serving up to 100 people indoors, restaurants in Portland will again have to reduce restaurant capacity starting April 9. Multnomah and Clackamas counties will fall into the state’s “high risk” category for COVID-19 security requirements, along with four other counties. For at least two weeks, restaurants in high-risk counties cannot serve more than 50 people inside or at 25% of their capacity, whichever is smaller; the state will reallocate county risk levels on April 20, to take effect on April 23.

In early March, Multnomah County’s case count fell low enough that Gov. Kate Brown allowed the county to fall into the “moderate risk” category. This category allowed restaurants to serve more people both indoors and outdoors, and to serve larger groups of people outdoors (eight people per table, compared to six). However, since then the state’s case count has increased: Multnomah County reported 84 new COVID-19 cases on April 4, and the county has recorded more triple-digit days of new cases since late March. .

Deschutes, Klamath, Linn and Tillamook also fall into the high risk category on April 9. This will generally divide the state into the high risk and low risk categories: From April 9 to April 22, there will be 14 high risk counties, six moderate risk counties, and 16 in the low risk category.

As cases increase, the county is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible to curb the spread: Governor Brown has announced that all Oregonians over 16 will be eligible for the vaccine on April 19, a further quickening of the schedule state immunization program. Restaurant owners and grocers became eligible for the vaccine on April 5, along with other vulnerable populations.

“We are at a critical point in this pandemic as we face more contagious variants of COVID-19 taking hold in our communities,” Brown said in a press release. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we all continue to wear masks, maintain physical distance, stay home when sick and get vaccinated when available to you.”

• New county risk levels [Official]
• New cases of COVID-19 in Oregon [OHA]
• Multnomah and Clackamas return to the “high risk” category [KOIN]
• All Oregonians over 16 will be eligible for the COVID vaccine on April 19 [O]

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Sandy A. Greer

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