Jamie Kassien opened the doors to D&J Taco Shop at the normal time Tuesday.
But the day was far from ordinary.
The work routine of eateries across Oregon changed drastically this week when Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that all restaurants, bars, and other establishments that offer food or beverages are restricted to carryout and delivery for at least four weeks in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
No on-site consumption is permitted, so customers must call in their orders or place orders to go.
As restaurants adjusted to the new normal Tuesday, local resident Rusty Little drove around downtown buying gift certificates from various places to boost their sales.
“I want everybody to do it,” he said. “We’re trying to keep Main Street alive.”
Kassien remained hopeful as phone orders started coming into the taco shop.
“As long as we can continue to do this and the community supports — like it always does — we can do OK,” he said. “Baker’s always been amazing.”
He and co-owner David Kassien have posted the menu on the taco shop’s Facebook page. Customers can walk in to order take-out, or call ahead to pay over the phone and request curbside service at 1705 Main St. (the Baker Tower). They are offering $2 delivery for orders over $20.
Jenny Mowe-Joseph, who owns Sweet Wife Baking at 2080 Resort St., eliminated self-serve coffee and water last week. This week she closed the dining room.
“Switching to take out doesn’t change our dynamic much,” she said. “We’ve always been more grab-and-go.”
She encourages customers to call ahead to order, pay, and have food delivered to the car.
At The Cheese Fairy, 1937 Main St., owner Cody Cook-Jury has been following the closure of cheese shops across the nation.
She’s open for now but isn’t offering cheese plates because diners can’t stay to eat.
“I’m hoping to move as much product as I can,” she said, gesturing to her case stocked with specialty cheeses. “I have to go to Portland and Seattle to get cheese, and I’m not doing that right now.”
She’s changed her hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Cheese Fairy shares space with Copper Belt Winery, owned by her brother, Travis Cook. On normal days, customers can order a glass of wine and take a seat at a table.
Not right now.
“The bold letters were ‘no on-site consumption’ allowed,” Travis Cook said.
Customers can still fill beer and wine growlers and buy bottles of wine to take home — as long as people know they can still come in.
“It doesn’t matter if I can sell bottles out the door if nobody comes in,” Cook said.
Copper Belt’s hours will be 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Joelene Murray and John Murray sat in their restaurant Tuesday and waited for the phone to ring.
The Murrays — father and daughter — own AJ’s Corner Brick Cafe at 1840 Main St. Without customers to fill the dining room, the Murrays had to send their employees home and reduce hours to 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Customers can call to order, or come in to the restaurant and order in person. Meals take about 15 to 20 minutes to prepare, she said.
“We’re going to give it our best shot,” Joelene Murray said of the new routine.
She’s posted the menu on the cafe’s Facebook page.
At the Little Bagel Shop, 1780 Main St., owner Stephanie Benson is encouraging customers to take advantage of take out.
“I’d say that most people just need to come and still support their local businesses as much as they can by doing take out,” she said. “It will be hard to pay bills and employees with just take out but people still need their jobs and businesses. This is most definitely going to have a huge ripple effect and a very long time to recover.”
Barbara Sidway, who owns the Geiser Grand Hotel at 1996 Main St., said the hotel’s restaurant will offer a reduced version of the regular menu available for take out.
Hotel guests can also order room service meals and drinks.
“You can shelter in luxury,” Sidway said.
When the recommendation for social distancing first arose — suggesting 6 feet between people — Sidway and the staff took a measuring tape and moved furniture.
“We reconfigured our entire dining room and cafe,” she said.
Now that dining room is empty. And not all rooms are occupied.
“It’s a torrent of cancellations,” she said.
In the midst of these changes, Sidway said her staff continues a protocol for disinfection.
“Every surface a hand might touch,” she said.
For a list of restaurants offering take out service or delivery, or both, go to www.bakercityherald.com/coronavirus/ to find the link to a spreadsheet that is being updated frequently.
Kicks Sports Wear, 1801 Main St., isn’t part of the restaurant restriction but the business will feel the effects of sports cancellations.
Owner Jayne Skidgel said as much as 65% of the store’s income is sports-related with uniforms and equipment.
Spring sports have either been postponed or canceled — bad news following two slow months of retail.
“March is when things start picking up. Now everything is shut down,” she said. “And I just ordered uniforms.”
The effect, she said, will go beyond her store’s walls. Every year she donates about $10,000 to community fundraisers in the form of sponsorships, buying raffle tickets, donating products or gift certificates, and buying animals at county fairs.
A loss in revenue can affect the ability to donate.
“It has a ripple effect,” Skidgel said.
Betty’s Books, 1813 Main St., is also operating under the take-out model.
Customers can call the store at 541-523-7551, or knock on the door if the lights are on.
Employees will bring the books you have ordered to the door, or will search the shelves for what you may be looking for.
Hours will be somewhat irregular. If no one is available at the store, try calling 541-403-2229.
Not all businesses are staying open.
Upon hearing the mandate from the governor, the Main Event Sports Bar and Eatery elected to close for at least a month.
The issue, said general manager Kari Raffety, is that offering only food isn’t enough to support staying open.
“Restaurants don’t make a ton of money on food alone,” she said. “Liquor sales are huge — that’s a huge percentage of the profit.”
The Main Event employs 11 people.
“We can reassure them they have a job when this is all over,” Raffety said.
She said employees were already “disinfecting around the clock” before the new rules.
“I hope people can stay home and the spread can stop,” Raffety said.
She and the staff cleaned out perishables Monday night. During the closure, owner Jay Raffety will complete maintenance projects.
Restaurant health guidelines
Malheur County Environmental Health, which handles restaurant inspections in Baker County, has released the following guidelines for restaurants offering take out:
• Please encourage customers to call in orders
• When possible, deliver order to customers in their vehicle
• If you allow walk-in orders, after the person orders their food they should wait in their vehicle
• If you cannot deliver food to a customer’s vehicle encourage only one person to come in to pick up the order