Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday announced the newest risk ratings for counties throughout the state, and the updated list was not good news for businesses in Douglas County.
The county was moved from the rank of “high risk” to “extreme risk.” That means restaurants will go back to takeout only and most other businesses will operate under severe restrictions. For example, gyms can operate on a limited basis, with a maximum of six people working out at a time, and movie theaters also can only allow six people in an area.
The new regulations will go into effect Friday and last for at least two weeks. The News-Review spoke to area business owners about what this means for them and their businesses.
Owner of Brix Grill in Roseburg
“We are frustrated. We are hopeful (Gov. Kate Brown) changes the scope of extreme to a more reasonable reflection of our very low state numbers and uses the information available that restaurant spread has not been the larger issue. We base this hope on the changes she has continued to make ... such as allowing indoor lottery during extreme. This shows she understands the state must meet financial obligations. A reasonable individual would realize the people of the state have those same obligations. We do not have lottery or a parking lot to allow us an indoor tent set up as outdoor dining. We cannot stay in business where we lose employees to closures continually as other industries are not mandated as harshly.”
Janelle “Nellie” Edelman
Owner of Nellie’s Deli & Tap House in Sutherlin
“So 2020 proved to be challenging and now 2021 is also proving that. As far as my business goes, I have a loyal and wonderful following of customers. They are the true heroes here. Even through closures, they return again and again. My challenge is keeping employees. Each time I close my dining room I am forced to lay them off. Some are eligible for unemployment, some are not and go find other jobs. This lay off I am going to try something different. I am going to apply for a second (Paycheck Protection Program) loan and keep all my employees on and see how that works. It is hard for all of us. I try to just roll with the punches. I do admit it is very frustrating and for my health, I try not to get too keyed up about it. ‘What’s gonna be is gonna be,’ is my philosophy and I have no desire or time to fight the government.”
Shelley Briggs Loosley
Chair of the board of directors for the YMCA of Douglas County
“Knowing we were going to be in the extreme category we got a jump on what can we do and how will we look. Matt Lund, our CEO, came up last Friday for an all-staff meeting (those that are left) and myself. We will be ready to fit within the guidelines of the extreme risk beginning Friday morning. We are communicating with our members so they are prepared. Everything we are set up to do fits within the extreme guidelines so we are compliant. One of our board members is Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer. I replaced him as board chair and we will be in compliance because we are the Y and we honor Dr. Bob’s position in this whole pandemic and he wants the best for us too. We are ready and wish we didn’t have to go into the extreme category, but hope the community will act responsibly and we can go back in two weeks. It’s a temporary two weeks. The outdoor area has remained open. We are hoping by getting information to our current members we will hold on to them for the next two weeks. Everything inside will be on a reservation system to control the number. Outside classes will remain the same, no changes, still outside.
Owner of Loggers Tap House in Roseburg
“Going back to the extreme category is hard. We’ll go back to outside dining but even with that sales will drop significantly. We were lucky enough to get the second round of PPP. We’ll use those funds to keep most of our staff working. We’ll provide more training and work on other projects around the restaurant. This will mean that the drive-thru restaurants will continue to excel while the more traditional dine-in restaurants will suffer. Some businesses can’t do outdoor seating and it will be extra hard for them. There are also more recent startups that qualify for little or no PPP funds and those are the ones that are likely not to make it.”
Gross is also preparing to open a second Loggers in Winston.
“There is still a lot to do but everyone is working hard. We think we’ll be able to open around April 1. Hopefully, it will be for more than just takeout.”
Co-owner at TenDown Bowling & Entertainment in Roseburg
“Yes, Douglas County went over its case count limit to remain in the ‘high risk’ category last Tuesday. We’ve spent a lot of time studying the ‘extreme risk’ guidelines for businesses like ours to operate, and have decided to close during this upcoming two-week period. Hopefully, our county case numbers will slow so we can move back to a phase that will allow us to welcome customers back inside the building.”