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Portland Businesses Are Having A Hard Time Dealing With The Omicron Surge

Portland Businesses Are Having A Hard Time Dealing With The Omicron Surge

As the Omicron variant spreads across Oregon, businesses have been forced to close for a long time because of outbreaks.

Unlike at the start of the pandemic, the state has not put any rules on the public. People are now letting businesses decide whether or not they want to stay open or close down. Most of the time, they’re forced to close. When there was a sickness, the Life of Pie on North Williams Avenue was closed for two days. The 1905, which is a jazz club, hasn’t been open since last week because they don’t have enough staff to fill sick calls. It’s called The 1905. Aaron Barnes is the co-owner of The 1905, too. His business has been hurt a lot by the Omicron variant, he told me.

As a result of COVID, “a few of our employees have had to call in sick,” Barnes said. “Customers have also been scared.” “They haven’t been coming out in huge groups like they used to.” This makes it hard to make ends meet.

Barnes is angry that the government hasn’t done more to help small businesses that have been hit by this recent surge. In his speech, he said that closing down because of a health issue is obvious, but the other thing that happens is that his employees don’t get paid as much as they would have under government aid like the Paycheck Protection Program.

Because money can’t buy food or put a roof over your head without it, “human life is more valuable than money,” Barnes said.

As a way to help cover the cost of lost wages, Barnes started a GoFundMe account called “Barnes.” As of Monday, more than $9,000.

Barnes: “It’s not something I feel great about.” When I ask people to give me money, I don’t like it. But the government may not be able to act quickly enough, and there isn’t unemployment for people who are off one week.

Also, a shift leader at Life of Pie said it would be nice if the government could help.

It’s at least that there was a plan B. If you don’t go to work, the government will pay you in some way or another. As soon as I get better, I’ll try to work as many hours as I can so I can make enough money to pay my rent.

Vince said that Life of Pie is looking at changing rules, like closing some indoor seating or moving to take-out only. Barnes said that when The 1905 opens on Wednesday, they’ll be limited in service, but they’ll still be open. Drinks and food will only be available for takeout or for people to eat outside.

Barnes, on the other hand, wants the government to give him advice on how to deal with this surge. It’s not good for him to do business with Omicron on his own, because it keeps a cultural staple in north Portland closed.

As of last week, Barnes said, “We were the only full-time jazz club in Oregon until last week.” It’s important for me to be able to show the music that tells or helps tell that story because of what’s going on in the world today. Not only the virus.”