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'We wish we could stay open this time': Tillamook County to resume indoor dining Friday

Tillamook County is moving from the highest to the lowest-risk COVID-19 classification.

TILLAMOOK COUNTY, Ore. — Tillamook County is about to swing from "extreme risk" down to the lowest risk level in Oregon’s COVID-19 restriction classifications.

The change will take place beginning Friday and run through at least Feb. 11, when all counties will be reassessed.

Under the new, lower-risk standing, restaurants in Tillamook County can once again offer customers indoor dining.

“We’re excited,” said Dan Tada, general manager of Garabaldi’s Hook Line ‘n Sinker Sports Bar and Grill. “We went from an extreme level to the lowest which is really good. That means we didn't have a surge."

Tada will restrict indoor dining to 50% capacity but said that’s better than nothing.

Even under stricter COVID-19 restrictions, many hotels on the Oregon coast have stayed busy, hosting guests who wanted to escape higher-risk areas.

“People come out here to get away but they find out they're locked down here, as well,” said Hank Harguth, Inn Keeper at Sheltered Nook on Tillamook Bay, a tiny-home micro-resort in Bay City.

Last year, Harguth installed patios around each tiny home to further encourage social distancing, though he’s glad guests won’t be as locked down in the community anymore.

“Where it's really going to help is our other businesses in the area,” said Harguth. “Our small businesses, especially our restaurants.”

For now, Tillamook is the only county on the North Coast classified at the lower risk level. Harguth hopes those planning to visit will help keep them there.

“Please wear your masks,” he said. “Be patient and be kind and appreciate those folks who are stepping up to serve all of us.”

That includes Dan Tada, who can't wait to serve guests indoors or out.

“I just wish everybody — all the businesses down here — good luck in opening,” said Tada. “And we wish that we could stay open this time!”

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