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'Temporarily closing in-store seating is our way of practicing social distancing,' Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor said

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Bicyclist Houston Bolles sips his strawberry milkshake in the Burgerville drive-through window during his evening commute in 2013.Portions of this article originally published by Oregon Public Broadcasting, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving heath issue.

The Vancouver-based fast food chain Burgerville announced Friday it's closing its dining room doors, though people can still order food through the drive-thru or home delivery services.

"Temporarily closing in-store seating is our way of practicing social distancing," Burgerville CEO Jill Taylor said in a statement. "Our focus is on keeping our grills hot, shakes cold and fryers ready for drive-thru and delivery."

The company said all but one of its 41 locations in Washington and Oregon will stay open with this new arrangement. Its restaurant in Tigard, off of Southwest Scholls Ferry Road, is temporarily closing as it does not have a drive-thru.

Hours may adjust depending on location, and the company said it will continue paying all employees scheduled through March 22 at half-pay if their hours are impacted. Impacted employees may also file for unemployment, Burgerville said.

As of early Saturday morning, Oregon has 32 reported cases of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 virus, spanning across 11 counties.

The COVID-19 virus, a relative of other viruses like SARS, was first identified in Wuhan, China, late last year.

More than 40 people have died in the U.S. from the virus. Most of those deaths have been in the Seattle area.

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