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Multnomah County restaurants expand dining for customers

Capacity for indoor dining has gone up to 50% after the county moved from the high to moderate risk category for COVID-19.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Friday was a good day for restaurants and businesses in Multnomah County, because now the entire tri-county area is in the moderate risk category for COVID-19. That means capacity for indoor dining has gone up to 50% and the number of people allowed to eat and drink outside is also going up to 150 people total. Retail stores can open at 75% capacity.

Brenda Kallien, general manager of The Matador in Southeast Portland, is hoping there won’t be anymore back-and-forth between being allowed to be open and being forced to shut down like they had seen during the pandemic. She wants customers to know that just because more people are allowed in at a time, it doesn’t mean customers are going to be able to walk right in and get seated.

Kallien said on a busy weekend night, before the increased capacity, there could be up to a two-hour wait.

One popular spot in downtown, Mother’s Bistro and Bar, won’t be quite ready to open with everyone else. Lisa Schroeder, the executive chef and owner, said it’s going to take her a little longer because she just found out she has to replace a cooling unit inside her restaurant that’s going to cost $25,000 to repair.

That means a longer wait to get back to business, but Schroeder is more concerned about her employees.

“Our workers are concerned and I’m concerned with my staff that they don’t have the vaccine,” she said.

She’s hoping a later opening will mean a better chance her employees will be safer.

RELATED: Here are the new Oregon COVID risk levels starting Friday

RELATED: Gov. Brown: Oregon will match President Biden's vaccine timeline 'if the doses are there'

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