Some Portland restaurants close in the middle of the latest COVID-19 wave

The Jazz Club from 1905 is one of several Portland companies that closed this week when things skyrocket due to the omicron variant.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Several Portland restaurants are starting to feel the impact of the omicron variant, and some have even closed because too many employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

1905, a jazz club in North Portland, was one of the establishments that closed this week due to positive COVID-19 cases among employees. The club normally has live jazz performances seven days a week along with a full kitchen and bar.

“The effect of omicron has been relentless. It has affected us in terms of customer support, and it has affected a few employees and it takes a toll,”[ads1]; said co-owner Aaron Barnes.

He said that the club has recently overcome staffing shortages – then tested a handful of employees positively.

“We do not have a super deep bench,” Barnes said. “So when we are down a couple of people, it has a dramatic impact on our ability to offer the best product and services.”

1905 is not the only business in the Portland area that is feeling the effects of the omicron wave.

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Dublin Pub in Southwest Portland, Eem, a Thai restaurant and cocktail bar in North Portland, and Lottie & Zula’s sandwich shop in Northeast Portland all posted on social media this week that they will be temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

“This feels like a big blow to the gut for me and the team,” Lottie & Zula’s wrote on Facebook. “We are all vaccinated and boosted, so we have a good chance of getting through this and getting back to it as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”

Back at The 1905, Barnes said that security is his top priority for customers and employees.

“It must be, I mean we can not operate if we do not have a staff, we can not operate if we do not have customers,” he said. “So we do everything we can to protect both sides. Same with musicians.”

The jazz club has required proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter. Barnes said the owners are now considering additional security protocols as they hopefully look to reopen next week.

“I’m excited to see what we can do about it. I think we can maintain a lot of what we do and share the art with our community.”

1905 looks next Wednesday after their possible reopening day. Meanwhile, the club has started a GoFundMe to support its musicians and employees who are temporarily out of work.

RELATED: Restaurants are pushing for more federal relief due to concerns over the omicron variant

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