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Portland clamps down on restaurants over COVID sanitary concerns but allows 'BLM Ribs' to operate in filth

The food service at the protest locations downtown are allowed to operate despite their being in direct violation of both restrictions imposed to limit coronavirus spread and the basic guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

Portland is serious about enforcing COVID-19 safety measures in food service, except when it comes to protest oriented open-air kitchens feeding the throngs of agitators and activists downtown.

The food service at the protest locations downtown are allowed to operate despite their being in direct violation of both restrictions imposed to limit coronavirus spread and the basic guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

The open-air kitchen is filthy. People are cooking without shirts on, food is left out, surfaces are not sanitary. Gloves are not always worn when handling food. Aprons are clearly soiled.

The Oregon Health Authority has strict guidance for food service, not only for indoor dining, but for food carts, pop-ups, and temporary food service for events. Assuming that the mutual aid kitchens serving Portland protestors are on site for a temporary event, the ribs venues are in direct violation. Food service that offers "Potentially hazardous foods... of an animal origin (raw or cooked), cooked plant products, raw seed sprouts, cut melons, garlic and oil mixtures, raw cut leafy green produce and cut tomatoes" are requiring of a license.

In early July, nine bars and restaurants were forced to close by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) over social distancing violations. During the holiday weekend, OLCC checked 800 businesses for compliance. Those businesses that were closed were found to have "licenses violating state statutes or OLCC rules."

Since closing all dining rooms across the state on March 17, Oregon governor Kate Brown issued safety guidelines for food service. These mandate that restaurant customers and employees wear masks inside, that tables are to be kept six feet apart, that parties must be limited to 10 or fewer people, and that buffets and salad bars are not to be used to serve food. Business owners are meant to enforce these guidelines.

The direction for food carts is that they must have six feet of physical distancing, and as regards food preparation, food service workers should "Just follow general food safety practices when preparing food. Keep cars clean, limit interactions with customers and remind them to wash their hands before eating. The goal should be 'contact-less delivery' to protect employees and customers."

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), has fielded many complaints from employees who were concerned their their companies were not enforcing masking requirements. A spokesperson from Oregon's branch of OSHA, Aaron Corvin, said that "Ultimately it's the job of employers to protect the health and safety of their workers," and that "Workers have a right to a safe and healthy workplace."

Restaurant owners across the state have said that they are concerned with the state of their industry given the mandated closures. They stated that they are working hard to comply. Many restaurants have reinvented themselves as grocery stores, take out only, and others have shuttered altogether. Temperature checks, gloves, and plexiglass partitions are some of the restrictions that have been put in place to allow food service businesses to operate.

The food service at the protest locations downtown are allowed to operate despite their being in direct violation of both restrictions imposed to limit coronavirus spread and the basic guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

Riot Ribs was collecting donations for their mutual aid kitchen, when they suddenly stopped collecting due to what was reported by the protest community as "grifters" operating a rival ribs business. Riot Ribs then donated the over $300,000 to Antifa affiliated groups.

The Post Millennial has reached out to Riot Ribs for comment.

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