By STEELE HAUGEN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
In Central Oregon, you might not be able to go to a restaurant or bar and enjoy a meal inside, but starting Friday you can go in to play video lottery.
On Tuesday Gov. Kate Brown announced changes to COVID restrictions for “extreme risk” counties.
You cannot eat or drink at the lottery machines, masks must be worn and only every other terminal will be in use to create social distance.
“This will enable those locations that have video lottery to offer the chance to play video lottery while they are waiting or just picking up their food,” Chuck Baumann with Oregon Lottery said. “It is an important thing, a good thing.”
For restaurant owners lottery machines bring in around $2,400 a week.
“The ability to offer the game is huge, not only for the Oregon Lottery but for that retail location,” Baumann said. “They rely on video lottery as one of those things that make them money.”
Garrett Wales, a co-owner of Cross-Eyed Cricket, formerly Mavericks in Bend, plans to have a grand opening in the next couple of weeks.
Wales says they have been delaying their grand opening for months, waiting for the return of indoor dining.
“You want to be grateful that things are maybe starting to open back up but when it is such a blatant play for revenue for the state like this, it is confusing,” Wales said.
Wales says all the other bar owners he talked to were blown away by rule changes made Tuesday.
“To be told that yeah it is safe inside, but only at video terminals, but not at socially distant tables with separation at big wide open space,” Wales said. “It is confusing to say the least.”
When Cross-Eyed Cricket does open they will welcome consumers to come inside to play video lottery.
“At this point a year into this, we have to take what we can get and do whatever we can,” he said.
The Oregon Health Authority is expected to release more guidance in the next couple of days.