Sunday, January 24, 2021
Jan. 24, 2021

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Judge denies Oregon restaurants’ lawsuit over COVID-19 restrictions

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PORTLAND — A federal judge has rejected an effort from Oregon restaurants to stop the most recent COVID-19-related restrictions imposed by Gov. Kate Brown.

The lawsuit from the Oregon Restaurants and Lodging Association said restaurants were being unfairly singled out.

The judge from the Oregon federal district court on Tuesday did not agree and and said the freeze is within the state’s authority, KOIN-TV reported. Two restaurant industry groups filed the lawsuit against Brown last week in response to her executive order forcing restaurants to move to takeout for two weeks, among other measures, as the state tries to lower a spike in cases.

At the time, representatives from the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Restaurant Law Center said the action was taken to “prevent economic devastation.”

After the ruling, Jason Brandt with the association said their real focus is doing what they can to help people keep their jobs.

“We are not blind to the fact that face coverings have to come off in our industry when you are eating or drinking in a restaurant,” he said. “Our challenge is the inequity having people gather in private spaces up to 6 people, two households, where people are moving around with their face coverings off.”

Brandt said the association has had several meetings with the governor’s office and that they want to keep working with the governor’s office.

The current restrictions are in place until December 3.

“I am hopeful,” Brandt said, “come December 3, at least some of our restaurants in some counties across the state will have the opportunity to have the freeze lifted and have the opportunity to make the revenue they desperately need for their business.”

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