Decline in cases provides hope for Medford restaurants

MEDFORD, Ore. —After experiencing shutdowns, months of take-out, and curbside orders only, restaurants say they are ecstatic with the possibility of continuing to operate within the high-risk category.  While the restaurant industry isn’t out of the dark just yet, a local business says this downward trend in cases comes as great news.

“It’s a lot of like having a group that’s very much on their toes and being ready to make a change at a moment’s notice,” says Common Block Brewery spokesperson, Rachel Koning.

Over the last year, Common Block Brewery, like many other restaurants and businesses, has had to adapt to an ever-changing COVID-19 environment. Koning says Jackson County Public Health’s numbers showing a decline in cases, comes as a nice surprise.

“I think as far as being able to have a positive outlook on the future, it certainly exciting to see those numbers,” says Koning.

With Jackson County at the high-risk level, the brewery is currently operating at 25% capacity indoors. However, Koning says the next two weeks are important, as the county sits in a two-week extension, a grace period issued by the governor for counties that could easily slide back into extreme risk.

“They’ve given us all of the information that we need to know about those different phases so once we do get the news that we’re ready to move into them, we know a lot about what that’s going to look like,” says Koning.

The popular downtown brewery says it utilized its outdoor area to great capacity, now Koning says it’s here to stay permanently.

“We feel very fortunate to have that outdoor space that we were able to be flexible and come up with an alternative plan when indoor seating went away so it has certainly been a blessing,” says Koning.

She’s hopeful restaurants are headed in the right direction.

“Really as we see these trends move in the direction that we’re hoping they move in, we can start planning for those next phases as they come along,” says Koning.

Koning says the company is starting to bring back things they had to set aside because of the pandemic, like programs and fundraisers.

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Jenna King is the 6pm anchor and our Feature Reporter at 10pm and 11pm for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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