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With many local businesses impacted by the pause due to COVID surges, local employers need support from local consumers

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY JIM ROTHS - Jim Roths, owner of Club Pioneer and Dillon's Grill, posted a photo on social media letting people know that his restaurants will be closed during the two-week freeze.

In the current climate of chaos for Oregon businesses and individual Oregonians, there is a bright spot for local consumers and shoppers for the upcoming Black Friday weekend.

Small Business Saturday, a part of Small all Season Long in Prineville, will launch this Saturday with a long list of local business participants and specials. Unlike last year's traditional Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, this year's event will have a number of modifications.

"It is something that we started last year. It's a chamber promotion," pointed out Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce Director Kim Daniels of the event.

She added that although it is also a nationwide event, they do a program where businesses can sign up and be part of the promotion that is done through the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce. The event was originally started by American Express, with the chamber taking it to the next level.

"Every business can take part in Small Business Saturday, but then we do a promotion through the chamber where we get the businesses that want to be a part sign up, and they let us know what their offers are, and what deal they are going to put out that day."

She added that each business has its own promotions and specials. She will have 75 to 100 swag bags and will randomly show up at different shops that are taking part in the promotion. Daniels and staff from Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce will hand out 10 swag bags to the first 10 people who show up at that particular shop—all to avoid crowds. The swag bags were made possible by a grant from Facebook.

Swag bags will include items like gifts cards, candy and unique items purchased from all participating businesses.

"Every bag is different; you never know what you are going to get. It is kind of fun like that."

Although retail is not on the list of the freeze period from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2, most local businesses have been impacted to some extent. During the freeze period, restaurants, bars, taverns, brew pubs, wine bars, wineries, cafes, food courts, coffee shops, clubs or other establishments that offer food or drink may not offer or allow on-premises, consumption of food or drink—inside or outside. Establishments may offer food or drink only for off-premises consumption such as takeout, drive-thru or for delivery.

The two-week freeze also does not apply to personal services such as barber shops, hair salons and non-medical massage therapy. It also does not apply to congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education. All of these can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority. 

Restaurants are especially impacted, and some local food establishments are choosing not to offer takeout during the two-week freeze. Food carts will offer food takeout as usual, however all eateries cannot offer food to eat while on the premises. Among restaurants that will not be offering takeout are Barney Prine's Steakhouse and Saloon, Club Pioneer, Dillon's Grill, Horseshoe Saloon, Crooked River Brewing, and McBains Fish and Chips. Businesses that are modifying their takeout procedures include Sons of Beer, who will only be open on Wednesdays from 11 to 6 p.m. for burgers only and will take calls ahead of time for growlers.

Taco Bell requires a download of the Taco Bell App ahead of time before pickup. Taco Time will only do takeout through the drive-thru.

In a previous post on the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce website, Daniels pointed out that there are opportunities to still shop not only restaurants, but other retail businesses. "We encourage the Prineville - Crook County community to shop local as much as possible. Many of our restaurants will offer meals to go. Our local businesses may also be able to deliver goods that you'd normally shop in store for, some even deliver. Make a call, ask the question, and you can do it all from your couch. Buy gift cards now to spend later. The choices we make to spend local will make an impact on our businesses and their finances, and for the community as a whole."

The Oregon Employment Department recently announced that it is preparing for an increase in unemployment claims following Gov. Kate Brown's statewide two-week freeze.

In a recent post on the website, they indicated, "Oregonians whose employment is impacted by this effort to curb the exponential spread of COVID-19 will need to either file an initial claim or restart a stopped claim."

"While the Two-Week Freeze may not directly affect all businesses, we want Oregonians to know that we are in a much better place than we were at the start of the pandemic to respond to an uptick in unemployment claims. We are ready to take your claims and ensure you get your benefits as quickly as possible, whether through an existing benefit program or any new federal program that may get passed," said Acting Director for Oregon Employment Department David Gerstenfeld in a recent new release.


Specifics on Two-Week Freeze by Gov. Brown's office:

Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.

Limiting faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.

Limiting restaurants and bars to takeout only.

Closing gyms and fitness organizations.

Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.

Closing outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities and outdoor pools.

Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.

Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.

Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).

Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.

Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities.

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