City of Hermiston working with downtown restaurants to expand outdoor dining options

Hermiston, Oregon

HERMISTON, Ore. — The city of Hermiston is stepping in to help restaurants stay afloat during the current phase of restrictions on businesses.

A city spokesperson announced Friday that they will be making portions of city-owned parking lots available for restaurants to use as seating.

Umatilla County was placed in the “Extreme Risk” category for COVID-19 by Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 25, which allows for outdoor dining. The new standard will go into effect when the two-week freeze is set to expire on Thursday, Dec. 3. Under that freeze order, no dining of any kind was allowed.

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While Umatilla County remains in this risk category, restaurants will be able to use certain sections of downtown parking lots to provide seating, fencing, canopies, space heaters and other dining amenities. The designated areas will be treated as city parks and require rental and use agreements from the business owners, but rental fees will be waived.

The City is also providing $15,000 to the Hermiston Downtown Association to help cover the cost of setting up outdoor dining.