By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant in Bend has been open for 28 years.
But it only took a few bad months for them to feel the impact of COVID-19.
Sara Robles, manager, waitress, and daughter of the owners, says reopening with indoor seating was necessary.
“If we stayed shut down we were going to lose everything,” Robles said. “This is just our opportunity to at least put up a fight.”
State COVID restrictions for “Extreme Risk” counties like Deschutes County means indoor dining is currently not allowed.
Oregon OSHA has received complaints about the restaurant’s Bend and Redmond locations.
However, in Redmond, Mazatlan is only offering patio seating.
“We have a choice, every American has a choice,” Robles said. “So I think that was our choice and we were in a hard boat, so that’s what we decided.”
Robles says since the reopening Friday, business has never been better.
With crowd sizes they typically only see on the holidays.
“We’ve been packed every single day, wait lists have just been through the roof,” Robles said. “Waiting could possibly be an hour, hour and a half and it’s something we’ve really never seen before.”
As for mask enforcement, it’s optional for customers.
“There’s definitely precautions being taken,” Robles said. “You know we all wear our masks and we try our best to allow people to have a choice.”
Central Oregon Daily asked Robles about the risk of someone suing, claiming they caught the virus from the restaurant.
“I’m sure everything is a concern at this point just because we are one of the first locations open,” Robles said. “That’s all I can pretty much elaborate on that.”
Robles says at one point, her father was considering selling the restaurant.
With many businesses in the same boat, she suggests if they want to reopen, they should.