Leading the way in Phase 2
As phase 2 guidelines came online for Oregon's next stage of reopening, restaurants and bars scrambled to strike a balance with the new restrictions.
Restaurants are required to have staff wear face coverings, sanitize tables and chairs between customers and not have anything such as saltshakers, napkins holders, candles or other objects on tables. Menus must be disposable, and not reused.
In addition, one of the biggest challenges has been the social distancing that limits seating and capacity in restaurants. For owners, this has posed a challenge when making the most of their square footage and seating arrangements. At Club Pioneer in Prineville, owner Jim Roths explained that restaurants could now either put up plexiglass as a barrier, or they could ensure tables or booths were six feet apart.
"In phase 2, they said we were able to go ahead and put up partitions—they said plexiglass between the booths, then we would be able to seat all the booths," explained Roths. "Prior to that, we had every other booth — which was a lot of booths not being used."
Roths, who also owns Dillons Grill, took on the challenge — but true to his focus on environment and maintaining a classy and warm atmosphere, he struck a good balance to meet the requirements.
"I don't like plexiglass; I think it's cold and impersonal," he emphasized. "We have no idea how long this whole thing will last. I want the restaurant to feel warm and inviting, and I worked hard in both restaurants to make sure they both have a good environment and plexiglass just doesn't fit my scheme."
Roths matched the glass that he had installed in the juniper doors that separate rooms in the restaurant. They are tempered rain glass, and Roths used some frames he already had that matched the glass windows in the doors. The partitions are held in place by juniper posts that were milled by Darrell Owens — who milled the other posts throughout the restaurant.
"I think it adds to the décor of the restaurant and makes the booths a little more private, and it does what the requirement is — it provides the barrier separation between the tables. All the other tables are spaced," he said.
A window with a pane was added between the booths in the bar area. The additions all look natural and look to be part of the existing décor.
Roths is also in the process of adding dividers in his other restaurant, Dillons. To keep with the décor of that building, he will use tin partitions. He pointed to four or five tables in Club Pioneer that they cannot use due to social distancing requirements.
"This helps a lot, because in the restaurant business, its all about how many tables you have," he pointed out. "It's not the square footage of the building — it's how many people you can seat, because it's those seats where we generate our sales from."
Regarding phase 2 reopening, Roths added that all staff must wear masks, although customers are not required to do so. The staff wear gloves when doing food preparation, and when they are sanitizing tables and chairs and booths.
On the new disposable menus, there is a statement from Roths that says, "Our servers are wearing masks, but rest assured that under the mask we are smiling because you are here!"
For lottery, the staff must seat customers and there must be six feet between machines or have one machine off between to maintain distancing requirements. They do, however, have the option to put up barriers and keep all machines in use. He will soon be adding the partitions in the lottery room.
"They have to be six feet apart or barriers right now," he emphasized of both the restaurant and lottery area. "We have no idea how long this phase is going to be. The governor says that we will be in this phase for the long-haul until there is a vaccine."
Owner: Jim Roths
Address: 1851 N. E. 3rd, Prineville, OR 97754
Sunday, Monday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday-Thursday: 11:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m. -9:30 p.m.
Sidenote: Due to the coronavirus restrictions, business hours may vary for the near future. Please confirm with business for hours.
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