Restaurants turn to take-out as governor orders four-week closure

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Pura Vida worker Myra Vargas hands customer Brent Schopp his order of food behind the restaurant.  With in lobby service stopped, customers were encouraged to order ahead and pick up their food outside in a drive thru pickup line.  Schopp appreciated the service and wanted to do what he could to support local restaurants.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Pura Vida worker Myra Vargas hands customer Brent Schopp his order of food behind the restaurant. With in lobby service stopped, customers were encouraged to order ahead and pick up their food outside in a drive thru pickup line. Schopp appreciated the service and wanted to do what he could to support local restaurants.

Of the News-Register

McMinnville’s restaurants moved to close their doors or switch to take-out on Monday as Gov. Kate Brown ordered eateries and bars to close in an effort to slow the spread of the deadly new coronavirus.

Many restaurants served their last dining room meals on Monday, as others turned their attention to takeaway menus and options.

[Editor's Note: The News-Register has created a page for local restaurants to post their to-go menus.]

Pura Vida Cocina owner Ricardo Antunez said employees of his restaurant at 313 N.E. Third St. will take orders and payments by phone, and deliver food to customers who come to the rear door.

He’s also planning comfort food, such as chicken soup on Wednesday and less-expensive specials such as burritos on Friday. “We’re going to try to make more homey-style stuff,” he said.

At 406 N.E. Third Street, The Sage closed its dining rooms in the 1893 building.

Servers will deliver food to customers outside after they’ve place phone orders, said Chris Gregory, whose family owns the restaurant. Gregory said his staff will text them when the food is ready, then take it out to their cars. Cash or cards will be accepted, and the card reader requires no touching, he said.

“We want to make it so people have to have as little contact as possible,” he said. “We’re trying to be as flexible as needed and to adapt to this new environment.”

The 1882 Grille at 645 N.E. Third St. also have added curbside to-go service and deliveries. Golden Valley Brewing is offering takeout. On its Facebook page, owners posted a message saying safety is their primary concern.

“All the restaurants in this wonderful community are trying their best to take care of their employees, as well as the needs of our community,” the message says. “We will all support each other as we can.”

The governor’s move to close restaurants and limit gatherings to fewer than 25 people came Monday afternoon after she received a plea from 15 restaurant asking for an official shutdown.

The owners said they had suffered a loss of business but could not qualify for a loss of business insurance until there is a government order to close.

“We fear that by remaining open even in limited capacity, we are amplifying the COVID-19 crisis, not doing our part to flatten the curve or care for the community we so passionately serve. Yet we cannot close our businesses without your support,” the restaurant letter read.

At an afternoon news conference, Brown told restaurants they could do the equivalent of restaurant take-out.

“As with my previous orders on social distancing, any establishments not complying with these measures will be subject to a class C misdemeanor, as established in Oregon state of emergency statute.

Earlier Monday, Browne had stopped short of the restaurant ban after talking with elected officials around the state who told her restaurants provide numerous meals to the elderly and vulnerable people, especially in rural communities.

The governor also issued an executive order on new social distancing for at least the next four weeks. The order will include the following: A statewide cancelation of all events and gatherings larger than 25 people, with essential locations like workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores exempted.
“Although I urge Oregonians to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more,” she said.

In McMinnville, Community Plate at 315 N.E. Third closed, and a recorded message says the restaurant hopes to soon offer to-go food.

As the coronavirus outbreak ravages the economy, businesses along Third Street in McMinnville are cutting hours, offering alternative services or closing their doors entirely.

Business at Harvest Fresh Grocery & Deli remains brisk as shoppers race to buy food and other necessities.
“Definitely a huge increase,” said Maria Calia, the store’s bookkeeper.

The biggest increase has been in groceries, she said, especially anything people can store on their shelves for weeks and months.

Harvest Fresh sold out of toilet paper, but to the relief of many beleaguered customers, a fresh stock arrived yesterday at the store at 251 N.E. Third St.
Third Street Book, announced last week she and her staff will begin delivering books directly to people’s doorsteps this week.

Books will be deposited from 1 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the 97128 zip code.

“I have never spent so much time thinking about public health and the impact on our economy that it can — and will — have on my business,” McClellan said in a statement.

“The news is changing so fast I have a hard time keeping up,” she said. “We’ve been wiping down door handles and countertops all week. No hugging, handshaking or coughing is allowed (only sort of joking).”

Business has been off a at the Blue Moon, 310 N.E. Third St., but it picked up over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, bartender and server Tammi Harrington said.
Many customers came in, and both the restaurant and bar were busy, Harrington said.

The Community Plate at 315 N.E. Third St., is closed, but a message on its phone said the restaurant hopes to soon offer to-go meals.

Pura Vida at 313 N.E. Third St. and The Sage at 406 N.E. Third St. are among restaurants already offering to-go service. They ask customers to call in orders, then pick them up outside.

Restaurants post call-in instructions and menus on their Facebook pages.

Gioia Goodrum, president of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that chamber operations remain unchanged during the pandemic.
“While we recognize the concerns around the cases of Covid-19 growing in Oregon, we want to express enthusiastically that we will continue to support our local community business members,” Goodrum said.

“Doing your part to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is also an important way to support our member businesses,” she said.

The chamber will remain open for business and, when possible, will use conference calls for meetings, Goodrum said.

“We will continue to take the pulse of the community sometimes making the tough calls on whether to cancel certain events within the next 30 days,” she said.
Federal funds through the U.S. Small Business Administration are being made available that can help businesses affected by the virus.

For Oregon to meet the threshold for federal assistance, Goodrum said chamber members are collecting examples of the economic hardship.

Scott Cooper, executive director of the McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, sent an email March 16 to alert local business owners to the U.S. Small Business Administration funds.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program supplies low-interest working capital loans to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and most private nonprofit organizations.

Yamhill County businesses must submit loan applications directly to Brian Young, Director, Yamhill County Emergency Management, at youngb@co.yamhill.or.us.

His mailing address is 535 N.E. Fifth St., McMinnville, OR 97128. For more information, call 503-474-6300.

Goodrum said local businesses can endure the crisis together. “Our ability to remain calm and support each other through this emergency will help us rebound faster,” she said.

The governor also on made a plea on Monday for younger, healthier people to keep their distance from others, warning they could be asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus and that “following the guidelines on social distancing is a matter of life and death for others.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday said he would direct all restaurants and bars to close in Oregon’s northern neighbor, though restaurants could still offer takeout and delivery services.

Many other governors around the country have issued similar bans, including Illinois, Ohio and Massachusetts.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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