Portland restaurants face new challenges during COVID-19 surge

by Megan Allison, Saturday, January 15th 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. — Many Portland restaurants are struggling to keep doors open during the current wave of COVID-19 cases. Some are now making the decision to temporarily close for weeks at a time.

After several team members tested positive, Mother’s Bistro decided to close its doors downtown on January 6. Owner Lisa Schroeder said her plan is to reopen in early February.

“We had one on one week – one COVID case – then one the next week, and then when I heard a mother/daughter who worked for us were also sick I said ‘okay, one more and that’s it–we’ve got to close,’ and that was it,” Schroeder said.

This comes as restaurants across Portland are noticing a drop off in foot traffic. Staff at River Pig Saloon said this is the slowest January they’ve ever seen.

“Definitely this is one of the more challenging ones because omicron started hitting hard, every industry. But more now. We don’t have a lot of customers, because they’re scared to get into businesses again, to go out and eat,” general manager Harol Mendieta said.

Mother’s Bistro stayed closed for months in 2020. Schroder said she wants to ensure her restaurant is not a place where the virus spreads.

“We want to believe that it’s over and it’s not and it’s just a sad smack upside the head telling us, you know what, we still have this to deal with and it’s not going away anytime soon so we’ve got to learn how to be flexible, and we’re definitely learning how to be flexible with these openings and closings,” she said.

The team at Mother’s said they also saw this closure as an opportunity to give back. When Schroeder decided to shut down suddenly, the restaurant was stocked for a busy weekend. Ultimately they donated the food and beverages on hand.

READ MORE | Mother’s Bistro donates extra food to shelter after COVID closure

“We just had a ton of food leftover and thankfully the Blanchet House is nearby and thankfully I’ve got a chef that has a pickup truck so we found a good place for the food to go. We loaded it up and we brought it to them, two full truckloads, 500 pounds of food,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder said she is optimistic about welcoming customers back by February 3.

Article originally posted on KATU.com

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