Newly minted Oregon State Republican Senator Dick Anderson spoke before the legislature Tuesday, asking Governor Kate Brown for clarity on what metrics counties need to get restaurants and like businesses open.
Anderson, whose territory spans the counties of Coos, Douglas, Lane, Lincoln, Tillamook, Yamhill and Polk, is new to state government, but no stranger to politics in general, having served in Lincoln City as a councilor and mayor twice. Anderson defeated Tillamook’s Melissa Cribbins in the general election to fill the senate seat left by Arnie Roblan after his retirement.
“In the short time I have been in office, we have been overwhelmed with unemployment claim issues from people up and down the coast and business owners looking for answers,” Anderson said. “The Governor has indicated that the primary driver of COVID-19 spread is private social gatherings, so why keep restaurants, which provide an outlet for Oregonians that are taking a breath on the coast for a weekend trip or providing just enough income to help pay for rent – closed?”
Anderson pointed out the disparity between big box restaurant chains and small mom-and-pop operations’ resources, stating smaller businesses don’t have the cash reserves or technology to switch to takeout.
“We must figure out a way to get our restaurants open,” Anderson said. “I simply ask for clear, concise metrics our local businesses need to meet to open, and justification or rationale if this status should be changed.”
Lincoln County’s COVID-19 metrics do permit indoor dining at reduced capacity, but five out of the seven counties Anderson represents are still in “Extreme Risk” with indoor dining prohibited. Douglas county shares a “High Risk” status with Lincoln County.
According to Lincoln County Public Health, Lincoln County will remain in “High Risk” effective Jan. 29 through Feb. 11.
“Just as the Governor isn’t taking ownership of the failed vaccine response, she isn’t demonstrating clear leadership for our most vulnerable businesses,” Anderson said.
Senator Anderson can be reached via email at sen.Dickanderson@oregonlegislature.gov