Restaurants prepare for Governor Brown’s 2-week freeze

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Restaurants are reverting back to ground zero of pandemic restrictions, preparing for only takeout and delivery, as Governor Kate Brown’s 2-week pause begins this week.

The restaurants I spoke with say they were finally getting back to normal, before the 2-week pause was announced.

They worry the pause could be the end for their businesses.

“The situation has become so dire, we’re losing money everyday, so, this could be the nail in the coffin for us,” said Cafe Dejeuner owner, Terry Swenson.

Cafe Dejeuner opened two decades ago in Medford, back in June of 1998.

“We just now started to get back on our feet again, now this comes along… we thought about trying takeout, but we’re not a takeout restaurant, we’re sit down, so, takeout isn’t really an option.” Swenson said.

He says prior to the first COVID-19 shutdown, the cafe was running strong and offered catering with around 20 employees.

He is now down to 4 full-time employees.

“All of our catering events, obviously, have been canceled, there’s no events, no gathering… so it’s kind of like getting kicked while you’re down, and then getting kicked again,” he said.

Over in Ashland, Brothers Restaurant is making the switch to takeout and third-party delivery.

“Since re-opening, we updated all of our systems, got on DoorDash, got a better online ordering system going and we’re really happy with the community support we got through that. So we’re hoping to keep the momentum going,” said manager, Julia Rowland.

She says they’ve been rebuilding business since March.

“Our sales went down by about half. Slowly we’ve seen an increase, especially with the to-go’s and deliveries, so we have hope,” said Rowland.

She says her staff of 15 will dwindle to only a few again.

“We’re gonna try to get most of our employees onto un-employment and then just keep a few staff members… maybe 4.”

Both restaurants are asking the community to shop local once the freeze sets in.

“I think we’ll be okay… maybe,” said Swenson.

Both restaurants say they plan to re-open on December 2nd, the proposed end of the 2-week freeze, if Governor Kate Brown doesn’t extend the restrictions.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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