UNION COUNTY — Some local businesses are feeling an upswing as Union and Wallowa counties near the end of the 21-day Phase 1 of reopening.
For many restaurants, Phase 1 meant reopening their dining room with modifications to allow for proper social distancing. Candace Vaughn, supervisor of Sub Shop 21 in La Grande, said the ability to do dine-in has increased the amount of people eating from the establishment. Prior to Phase 1, the sandwich shop remained open for takeout and delivery.
“We were affected financially,” Vaughn said. “But, now that everything is calming down, getting back to dine-in has helped us with financial stability.”
The Steakhouse at Cove also opened its doors to dine-in. While the restaurant did takeout under Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order in March that prohibited dining in restaurants and bars, owner Robert Hasse said he had to lay off some employees. The ability to seat people has helped, he said, and restaurant is is at 75% of what it was before having to close.
Not all businesses, however, reopened during Phase 1, including Main Street Grill in Wallowa.
Owner Katrina Frei said the establishments limited space prevented spreading out more than four tables. Frei said she will wait until the diner can use a majority of the tables to reopen completely, and in the meantime will continue to do offer takeout as an option.
Peak Lifestyle Studio in downtown La Grande is utilizing the reopening and the digital options from quarantine to bring their businesses back.
Owner Colleen McIntosh said people are excited to come back to classes in person, but having the option to do online classes as well is something people are taking advantage of. Being able to hold classes in the studio has helped bring back customers who had put their accounts on hold, McIntosh said, a few new people have signed up for classes.
“Now that we have started an online option, it’ll never go away completely,” McIntosh said. “Some members that signed up specifically for a virtual option and are counting on it. It’s perfect really, not only for those out of our area that have signed up, but when the weather is less than ideal around here, people are able to not only support a local business that makes them feel good when they walk in the doors and workout, but when stuck at home, they won’t miss out.”
Brown has yet to release an outline for what Phase 2. Some of the sources said Phase 2 for their business would look like having more people with less restrictions.