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What New Two-Week COVID Restrictions Mean for Oregon Coast

Published 11/14/20 at 4:55 aM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

What New Two-Week COVID Restrictions Mean for Oregon Coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – On Friday, Governor Kate Brown announced new measures to slow down the frantic pace of COVID-19 in Oregon, creating a two-week freeze on social activities and shutting down some types of businesses. The order goes into effect November 18 and runs at least through December 2, except for Portland’s Multnomah County which will be under a one-month restriction.

The two-week freeze directly affects all restaurants and bars in the state, which are limited to to-go orders only. Aquariums, zoos, pools, gardens must close for that time, as well as venues that host indoor or outdoor activities.

Social gatherings will be limited to six people, either indoor or outdoors.

“While this announcement was anticipated with COVID-19 cases increasing at a rapid rate, this directive will add strain to Oregon’s tourism economy and impact many communities that rely on travel and related spending to support their economies,” said Travel Oregon in a bulletin.

Restaurants on the Oregon coast will only be able to provide food to-go as well, and the restrictions will temporarily shut down attractions such as Oregon Coast Aquarium and Seaside Aquarium. Coastal bars that don't already have a sizable portion of their business from food will likely close during that period.

Already-struggling theaters on the coast will be forced to close for that time.

No coastal counties made it out of Phase 2 reopenings, which started in summer. This already had eateries at very limited capacities.

The one area not affected at all by this will be lodgings and vacation rentals on the coastline. According to regional leaders such as Janice Langlinais of Coos Bay - North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau and Nan Devlin of Tillamook Coast, they don’t foresee any negative impacts on that part of the hospitality industry. There are no “do not travel” orders at this time, leaving places to stay untouched.

In fact, it’s quite possible they may see more visitors as inland populations look for an escape.

State parks and beaches are also unaffected at this time.

Oregon, however, joined in a travel advisory with California and Washington, urging all those returning to their home states or coming to the three states to quarantine for 14 days. It also advises Oregonians to not engage in non-essential travel out-of-state.

The news was greeted grimly Friday, especially by many Portland service industry workers who will be out of a job for a month. Numerous eateries on the coast were struggling to figure out how to stay open under the new restrictions, sometimes because of personnel issues. Restaurants in the metro area that had invested thousands in outdoor seating for customers during winter could mildly be described as devastated, and the entire industry in Oregon is bracing for a surge in permanent closures.

However, one restaurant in southwest Portland that had stayed to-go only since the pandemic erupted told Oregon Coast Beach Connection they theorized they may actually get busier during the two-week freeze.

The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) is advocating for a host of measures to assist the industry and its employees, including a relief fund and extending the moratorium and commercial evictions.

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