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Portland restaurants taking new steps to stay afloat

Local restaurants are turning to take out and delivery. One going so far as to sell toilet paper to customers.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Unable to open their doors to diners, many restaurants are having to take unprecedented steps to stay afloat.

In a matter of 24 hours business at Kachka restaurant in Southeast Portland changed completely.

"We're trying to find ways to get people the things that they need," said co-owner Bonnie Morales.

As ordered by the governor, all restaurants and bars are now restricted to take out and delivery only. For the first time, Kachka is offering both.

"We're actively putting menu items on website for online purchase," said Morales. "We're also doing grab and go of some of our more popular dishes."

And the restaurant is trying out delivery for the first time too. "My husband, the co-owner, has been scrambling around doing delivery directly himself," Morales said.

A number of restaurants are now offering either their full menu or a scaled-down versions of their menus for carry out and/or delivery. Some are expanding even more.

RELATED: McMenamins temporarily closing, laying off 3,000 employees amid coronavirus outbreak

The dining room at Ava Gene's on Southeast Division sits empty. Chef and owner Joshua McFadden is now offering customers not just prepared meals, also but more do-it-yourself meals.

"We're doing meal kits," he explained. "Cookie dough, cookies... soups you can heat up, things you can have around for days."

"We're really just trying to find ways to make this as comfortable and as safe for everybody," he said.

Back at Kachka, Morales is doing the same. Even putting toilet paper for sale on her deli shelves. While for some seeing a restaurant sell toilet paper might be strange, it's also an indication of just how strange times are right now.

A strange new reality businesses are now forced to deal with, as tough as it might be.

"We did have to lay off 48 employees yesterday which is the hardest thing I've ever had to do," said Morales. "And the folks that are left, we are fighting every day to get our family back... our staff back."

RELATED: Local businesses react to Oregon governor's new measures to flatten the curve