Restaurants rushing to prepare for indoor dining’s return

MEDFORD, Ore.- Tomorrow indoor dining can resume as Jackson County moves from extreme to high risk level and both customers and restaurant owners say they’re excited, but they only just found out Tuesday, so now businesses are rushing to prepare to open and switching from ‘to-go orders’ to ‘table service’.

“We’ve been scrambling to grab food and beverage and staff and get ready for Friday,” Jefferson Spirits Owner Dennis Clark said.

As Jackson County residents get excited for the return to indoor dining, the short notice has restaurant owners working overtime.

“I feel sorry for the food distributors and the beer distributors because they got calls on Tuesday from everybody saying we need it now,” Clark said.

He says they are working with vendors to get what they can. And, like many other businesses in the county, he is working to again hire staff.

“Everybody’s grabbing for staff. A lot of our staff has gone to other places, have to have job to survive. So now we are seeing who’s going to come back,” he explained.

At India Palace, which has been closed to indoor dining since June, they’re facing different problems.

“We are a small business, its me, my husband, one daughter, and one co-chef in the kitchen. Without me there we really cant open the restaurant,” says Tammy Kaur, co-owner.

But, Kaur says they won’t be able to open until the second week of March.

“I mean we need this extra time, we’ve been closed I think the longest of the restaurants. We have all of our silverware, dinner ware, glasses- all have to be re-sanitized because those have been sitting for eight plus months,” Kaur said. She says she thought change might come after seeing what was happening up north.

“I think a lot of us restaurants when we found out that Portland was open, Multnomah County, we thought ‘well they are open before Jackson County so we have to be opening soon’,” said Kaur.

Despite the rush to get ready with such short notice, neither Medford business owner seems concerned that the state could change things up, in another two weeks.

“Just going to worry about the customers that show up on Friday night and Saturday and go from there. Two weeks is a long time in this environment and we will deal with it when it comes,” said Kaur.

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