▶️ Crook County restaurants frustrated by not meeting high risk metrics

By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Restaurants in Prineville can’t believe their county won’t be opening for indoor dining on Friday.

“It’s a real head scratcher,” said Cody Suing, owner of Horseshoe Tavern.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Jesse Toomey, owner Crooked Roots Brewing.

“This Metric system is wrong,” said Jim Roths, owner of Dillon’s Grill and Club Pioneer. “It does not fit a county like Crook County.”

Governor Kate brown announced Tuesday, Deschutes County and several other counties were moving to “high risk”, which eases restrictions for restaurants, gyms, and other recreation facilities.

Crook County needed to have 59 COVID cases in a two-week period to move out of “extreme risk” and into “high risk”.

The number of cases they had: 60.

“We just want to be open,” Roths said

Roths says the metrics can’t be a one size fits all system.

“If a community like Prineville, a small rural community is not as safe as going to a larger community, it is kind of a slap in the face,” he said

He’s not the only one who is frustrated.

Owner of Crooked Roots Brewing, Jesse Toomey feels the same way.

“The extreme risk category is a little too extreme,” Toomey said.

“If she thinks that, Kate Brown, thinks that a few days’ notice to open up or close is OK for a restaurant, it’s not,” he added.

Several restaurants have put up signs that say “#You’reKillingMeBrown”.

Cody and Chris Suing, owners of Horseshoe tavern, are one them.

“We feel that if all of us use a voice, all of us restaurants use a voice, that maybe something will be heard,” said Chris Suing.

Crook County Judge Seth Crawford was on the phone with Governor Brown Wednesday morning.

“I asked if we could get a little bit of variance on this and she said they were unable to do that,” Crawford said.

He says business owners just want an opportunity.

“They don’t want handouts from the government,” Crawford said. “They want to do their jobs and serve the people that come into their restaurants.” 

“Governor open us up, give us a chance to survive,” said Roths when asked if he wanted to add anything else.

The next risk level announcement is February 23.

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