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Restaurant owners prepare for new COVID-19 restrictions to extend beyond two-week pause

Shelly Bigley, who’s owned and operated the Old Market Pub and Brewery for 25 years, expects the new rules to extend beyond 14 days.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's pause for nine counties brings new concerns for restaurants already struggling because of the pandemic. Some Portland area businesses are concerned about what will happen after the two-week pause.

In Multnomah County, the lunch crowds at the Old Market Pub and Brewery are going to get thinner over the next couple of weeks. New restrictions started Wednesday that only allow 50 people inside restaurants at one time, including employees. Those restrictions forced Shelly Bigley, who’s owned and operated the Old Market Pub and Brewery for 25 years, to make cuts.

“We cut our schedule in half, and not only will that impact us but it’ll also impact people that are going to have to be laid off sadly,” said Bigley.

RELATED: Here are the COVID-19 restrictions for Oregon counties on a two-week pause

In Washington County, at Tom’s Pancake House owned by Greg White, he’s feeling the same way as Bigley. He’s already looking at ways to keep his employees working.

“We're reassigning duties, creating new systems where we do customer count and we'll just have to monitor who's allowed to come into the restaurant," said White.

“We’re going to from roughly 60% of our business capacity to something around 35%," he said.

While Gov. Brown is calling this a two-week pause, business owners like Bigley and White expect it to go past just the next 14 days.

“I don't see this only going to be two weeks I think people need to be prepared it might go a little longer,” said Bigley.

RELATED: Q&A: Why a 2-week pause is necessary in 9 Oregon counties

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