Some restaurants more prepared than others for expanded outdoor seating in ‘extreme risk’

MEDFORD, Ore. — Restaurants in the Rogue Valley are preparing to switch to only outdoor seating as the county switches to ‘extreme risk’ this Friday.

The Service Manager at Kaleidoscope Pizza in Medford, Joey Ross, says closing indoor dining once again is frustrating.

Ross says his restaurant is carefully following safety protocols and social distancing guidelines and forcing indoor dining to close will only hurt businesses and the economy.

“I understand the concerns, but I feel like the restaurants are being picked on personally,” said Ross.

Kaleidoscope Pizza’s patio currently fits 12 tables and a maximum of 82 people.

So while they’ll use the extra seats available, it’s a net negative.

“We have one table inside and it only sits 4 people, so eliminating that doesn’t really change anything,” said Jasper’s Cafe server, Angelica Eschmann.

Across town, the cafe on Highway 99 says business for them is better, if not the same, as when Jackson County is in ‘extreme risk’.

Its outdoor seating accommodates up to 45 guests.

“It’s probably going to be a bit busier, since everywhere else is shutting down,” said Eschmann.

She says the cafe doesn’t plan on adding more tables outside, since things are going so well already.

“I don’t think we’d be able to put any more tables since they do have to be 6 feet apart,” she said.

Though Friday’s switch is something virtually no one in the restaurant industry wanted to make, each establishment is luckier than some, where outdoor seating isn’t a possibility.

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