Foods & Culinary

Portland restaurants will have to reduce indoor capacity again if falls rise

After a short period of indoor catering for up to 100 people, Portland restaurants will have to reduce restaurant capacity again from April 9th. Multnomah and Clackamas counties will return to the state’s “high risk” category for COVID-19 security requirements along with four more counties. For at least two weeks, the restaurants in the high-risk groups cannot serve more than 50 people indoors or with a capacity of 25 percent, whichever is smaller. The state will reassign the county’s risk levels on April 20 to go into effect on April 23.

In early March, the number of cases in Multnomah County dropped so much that Governor Kate Brown allowed the county to enter the “medium risk” category. This category allowed restaurants to cater to more people both indoors and outdoors and to cater to larger groups of people outside (eight people per table versus six). Since then, however, the number of cases in the state has increased: Multnomah County reported 84 new COVID-19 cases on April 4, and the county has had more triple-digit days with new cases since the end of March.

Deschutes, Klamath, Linn and Tillamook also enter the high-risk category from Ril 9. This generally divides the state between high and low risk categories: from Ril 9 to Ril 22 there are 14 high risk circles, six with medium risk and 16 in the lower risk category.

As cases rise, the county is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible to contain the spread: Governor Brown announced this All Oregonians 16 and over will be eligible for the vaccine starting April 19th, further accelerating the state’s vaccination schedule. Restaurant and grocery workers have been able to qualify for Vaccine No. 5 as well as other vulnerable populations.

“We are at a critical moment in this pandemic as we face contagious variants of COVID-19 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 if sick and receive the vaccine when it is available to you.”

• • New district risk levels [Official]
• • New COVID-19 cases in Oregon [OHA]
• • Multnomah, Clackamas return to the “high risk” category [KOIN]
• • All Oregonians 16 and over are eligible for the COVID vaccine by April 19th [O]

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