As we celebrate the extended 4th of July Weekend, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission enforcement staff will be visiting restaurants and bars across the state. This OLCC enforcement staff will be making sure the state’s drinking establishments are complying with state alcohol laws, OLCC rules, and the Governor’s social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This new action to make sure its license holders are compliant comes during a time where Oregon is seeing a noticeable spike in COVID-19 infection rates. Yesterday the state hit a new record of 375 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19.
As most of Oregon is in Phase 2, there are still a handful of counties still in Phase 1, including its three largest – Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas. In these tiered Phases are different levels of restrictions as it relates to restaurants and bars. No matter which Phase the county is in these establishments must enforce social distancing measures for its staff and customers. Under Governor Kate Brown’s Reopening Guidance restaurants and bars in Phase 1 may serve alcohol until 10:00pm, under Phase 2 those establishments may stay open until midnight.
In coordination with the Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) the OLCC will conduct spot checks to make sure licensees are following OLCC regulations. OLCC inspectors will be checking to make sure bars and restaurants are not overcrowded, that customers are not overconsuming, and that businesses are closing at the required time.
“We want to make sure our licensees maintain their diligence this holiday weekend and not be complacent,” said Steve Marks OLCC Executive Director, in a press release. “Quite frankly the health of Oregonians and the ability for bars and restaurants to stay open is dependent on it.”
Where there is a clear violation of Oregon law or OLCC rules, the OLCC will take administrative action against the licensee. If inspectors observe violations of social distancing requirements outside OLCC enforcement authority the agency will report that information to Oregon OSHA for action.