▶️ Businesses closed, concerts silenced; unwelcome wildfire smoke taking toll

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Bend is looking a little different this Labor Day, all thanks to poor air quality.

Wildfire smoke drifted into Central Oregon on Friday and lasted through the weekend, blanketing the region in an acrid haze.

It took a toll on Aina Kauai Style Grill employees, leading owner Ian Vidinha to close his Bend food cart on Monday.

“I had a couple employees call me today concerning that they worked Saturday and they weren’t feeling very well all day yesterday,” Vidinha said. “I decided that I got to take care of myself and my employees.”

Labor Day tends to draw in large crowds to local businesses, but this year, many business owners prioritized safety.

“Big holiday like this,” Vidinha said. “You’re always expecting to be a lot busier.”

A quiet night is also expected at the Les Schwab Amphitheater without Death Cab for Cutie.

“Didn’t look like it would get any better,” Beau Eastes, Les Schwab Amphitheater and The Old Mill marketing director said. “That’s why we, Death Cab, Live Nation, the amphitheater, all made the decision together to unfortunately have to cancel tonight’s show.”

Brandi Carlile canceled her show in Bend the night before, rescheduled for September 20th.

TOTS operates at the amphitheater during concerts and at Midtown Yacht Club in Bend, but because of smoke, neither food cart location was in service most of Monday.

“We decided to close down just because it’s not healthy for my employees to breathe in the air,” Keeley Parsons, TOTS owner said. “Frankly I just don’t want to put them in that position.”

Parsons says financially, closing for smoke has a little bit of a burden, but she is staying positive.

“It does affect us, yes,” Parsons said. “But my heart goes out to all the people that are affected in a lot worse ways than we are.”

These business owners say they will remain closed until air quality improves.

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