The new government mandated restrictions under Phase 2 have affected some businesses in Hermiston.
Gov. Kate Brown announced on Wednesday, July 22, additional statewide restrictions under Phase 2 of reopening plans that went into effect on Friday, July 24. Some restrictions include closing restaurants and bars by 10 p.m. instead of midnight and requiring a face covering for all gym users during their workout. According to Brown, the decision to add restrictions is a result of rising COVID-19 cases throughout Oregon.
Following the restrictions to scale back hours, Union Club in downtown Hermiston closed its already limited hours of operation.
“We’re closing the shop due to the new COVID-19 requirements,” stated a July 23 Facebook post. “Union Club will reopen to serve you as soon as we are able to resume business as usual. Stay safe! See you on the other side of the morning.”
Union Club is not open for takeout either but people are still able to inquire about renting the event space to host private parties. There are currently no plans for when the coffee by day, bar by night establishment will reopen.
People also are now required to wear face masks at the gym while working out. Roger Adams, manager at the newly-opened Hermiston Athletic Club, said since the new restrictions they have received some resistance, but that for the most part, everyone is complying.
“We had some push back for sure,” he said. “ I think everyone knows in order to do this, in order to stay open, everyone knows they need to follow the governor’s mandate.”
Adams said for the most part, though, everyone has been semi-supportive. He said some people are unsure why they still have to wear a mask while working out if they remain socially distanced and 6 feet apart.
“I definitely had people say it’s overkill,” he said. “That’s the biggest push back we’re getting, but we’re going to follow the rules and do what we can to keep people safe inside the facility.”
Adams said his concern is that a lot of businesses are shutting down and the health and fitness industry is one that has taken a hit in general.
Neighborhood Books & Gifts is among the businesses that were shut down for three and a half months at the start of the pandemic. Since then, co-owner Judy Gormley said the company was able to make some changes for safety purposes, such as installing a shield at the counter and enforcing social distancing. The new restrictions didn’t affect her store much, but she said that business has been slower.
“[New restrictions] haven’t affected us too much, but the number of customers have been limited,” Gormley said. “But we’re doing OK.”
Other restrictions under Phase 2 include reducing private indoor gatherings from 50 people to 10. Recreational venues, such as movie theaters, public pools, places of worship and arcades, are now capped at 100 people instead of 250. Children 5 and older are now mandated to wear face coverings.
During the Hermiston City Council’s July 27 meeting, Al Davis, the manager of the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, said so far EOTEC has been able to host some outdoor events, but they have also had more than 40 cancellations for indoor bookings since the pandemic started.
“It’s not good, but there’s not much we can do about that,” he said, noting that once October hits, the revenue from outdoor events would dry up.
He said there have been a few entities, such as the Port of Umatilla’s board of directors, that have been holding meetings at EOTEC because they can sit much farther apart than they would be able to in their own board rooms.
Davis said barrel racing has been a popular event at EOTEC’s large rodeo arena this summer, as people can sit far apart outdoors to watch. He said people who come to those events have been “very open” to requirements about having their temperature taken and leaving their information for contact tracing purposes.