Oregon’s governor Kate Brown approved applications from 31 of 36 state counties to begin Phase 1 of a reopening plan under Coronavirus related restrictions. Portland’s greater metro area is still under lockdown, but popular destinations like Hood River, Eugene and Bend are all allowed to open again for dine-in and drink a beer on-premise service starting today, May 15th, 2020. But out of risk to public health, or a pause to rethink operations, many are choosing to stay closed. And it continues to be important not to travel for purposes of recreation at this time.
Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion and Polk counties have not yet been approved for phase 1 of reopening.
“We are asking folks in the metro area to be thoughtful of their fellow Oregonians and to stay home and limit their travel to essential need,” said Oregon governor Kate Brown at a press conference yesterday when she announced the counties approved to enter Phase 1. “We obviously don’t want to overwhelm the rest of Oregon by traveling outside the metro area.”
Beer bars, pubs, restaurants in the approved counties must have no counter bar seating, 6′ between tables, staff must wear masks and tables must be 6′ apart and service limited to 10pm. So while opening back up for on-premise may be a positive, it won’t be business as usual.
“While we would love to welcome you all to our tasting room again, we will only do so when we’re confident we can deliver the kind of safe, and efficient experience that our employees and guests deserve” wrote pFriem Family Brewers in a newsletter and on social media.
Despite easing of stay-at-home restrictions in Hood River, many business owners and staff don’t believe they are ready to welcome in the public just yet. Double Mountain Brewery & Cidery and Ferment Brewing Co. also announced they were not yet ready to open for sit down service but all three are doing to-go and delivery.
In the Willamette Valley there is cautious optimism to begin service. While brewpubs like Elk Horn Brewing and Claim 52 Kitchen will open to their fans with restrictions.
“We are excited to welcome you back to the Kitchen and will need your help to customers and our awesome staff safe,” wrote Claim 52 Brewing in announcing they will open their kitchen pub in Eugene from 11am to 9pm today.
But popular Eugene destinations like Coldfire Brewing and Alesong Brewing & Blending are biding their time in reopening.
“We are doing our best to do what’s best, as is everyone else,” wrote Coldfire Brewing in announcing they would take next week off while deciding how their reopening might look.
Central Oregon breweries are among the most eager to reopen with Bend Brewing Co., Crux Fermentation Project, Silver Moon Brewing, Monkless Belgian Ales, Cascade Lakes, Avid Cider and Wild Ride Brewing all announcing they will reopen today. Sunriver Brewing plans to rejoin them by opening on May 20th and Worthy Brewing will follow on the 22nd. But Boss Rambler Beer Club, felt it was too soon for them to get back to business as normal.
“We’re going to let the dust settle on this whole Phase One Re-Opening thing before we open the doors (and patio!) back up,” wrote Boss Rambler on their social media outlets.
Many breweries and taprooms have yet to announce if and when they will reopen, so before visiting your local make sure to call ahead. Because, even IF they are open it may not be as simple as stumbling in anymore.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.