Hermiston Restaurants May Use Downtown Parking for Outdoor Dining

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In order to help restaurants in downtown Hermiston provide outdoor dining options for their customers, the city of Hermiston is making portions of city-owned parking lots available for private use.

Umatilla County was placed in the “Extreme Risk” category for COVID-19 by Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 25. In a change from the previous “Freeze” order, outdoor dining is permitted for “Extreme Risk” counties along with carry-out and delivery.

While Umatilla County remains in this risk category, restaurants may use certain sections of downtown parking lots to provide seating, fencing, canopies, space heaters, and other dining amenities. Such 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.

“Our downtown businesses and restaurants are part of what makes this community special, and it’s our priority to make sure they have every chance to succeed in these difficult times,” said Hermiston Mayor Dave Drotzmann. “As they get creative and find new ways to serve their customers, I encourage residents to make an effort to shop local and support our friends and neighbors.”

Drotzmann read a Small Business Saturday Proclamation at the Nov. 9 Hermiston City Council meeting, supporting the efforts of small businesses year-round. According to the United States Small Business Administration, 62 percent of small businesses say they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to staying in business, and 65 percent said having their “regulars” return would be the most helpful to their businesses.

Small Business Saturday is November 28.

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