Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington county restaurants will be able to reopen dining rooms Friday. Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement saying the Portland metro counties have left the “extreme risk” designation today, which means that starting Feb. 12, Portland restaurants can serve some customers indoors.
“High risk” counties — the level below “extreme risk” — can allow restaurants to serve indoors up to 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Restaurants must close by 11 p.m.
Yesterday, the state released preliminary data that showed Portland-area counties had fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents for two weeks, which would make them eligible to drop down to “high risk.” However, the governor had yet to certify that data; this morning, Brown’s office did release updated county risk levels, showing that the three Portland-area counties — as well as six other counties, including Hood River and Deschutes — had dropped to that “high risk” designation.
This will be the first time Portland-area restaurants have been able to serve customers inside since November. Currently, restaurants in the Portland area can only serve customers onsite if they’re doing so outside; some restaurants, without obvious outdoor space for a makeshift patio, have chosen to go on “winter hiatus” instead, reopening in the spring.
Many major around the country have reopened for indoor dining, including New York, Chicago, and Seattle; however, many diners and restaurant workers have said the choice to do so could be disastrous down the line. In Portland, restaurant workers are not yet eligible for the vaccine, and some of the highly contagious variants of COVID-19 have been discovered in some Oregon counties.
This story will be updated with more information.