ERIN TIERNEY/THE CHRONICLE

Gryff’s Pub in Springfield has extensive outdoor dining. Restaurants will be able to offer indoor seating at 50% capacity, or 100 people, starting Friday.

Lane County’s case numbers have been low enough to move from “High” to “Moderate” risk on Friday, March 12 – a big win for the dining and sports scenes. 

Restaurants are able to serve more people inside and outside – now up to 50% of its capacity indoors, and for outdoor dining, up to eight people per table and an overall capacity of 150 people.  

Indoor entertainment and recreation can have up to a 50% capacity, with retail spaces enjoying 75% capacity. Jason Davis, spokesperson for Lane County Public Health, said the county is on its way to continuing to lower all key numbers.

“As soon as public health started talking about the moderate category, we celebrated a little bit and looked toward the next category,” Davis said, which would further loosen restrictions. 

“In order for us to move into that low-risk category, we need to achieve 50 cases per 100,000 or less. And we need to get that positivity rate under 1%. We’re well on our way to doing that.” 

The optimism around recent trends is evident. Brandon Standridge, Creswell middle and high school athletic director, said it’s possible more fans will be able to attend games. “If we keep up the good work and remain under 100 cases per 100,000 – we are at 92 this week – we can open up more spots for spectators for all events,” he said.

On the vaccine front, the county hosted a “vaccine confidence” online event this week with the Black community.

“It is a great conversation to have from various people including health officials, and also community activists, talking about the role the vaccine can play in the community and especially addressing some of the historical trauma and mistrust issues around the public health and healthcare delivery system.”

He said that despite the ongoing shortage of vaccines it is not premature to have conversations around vaccine confidence in general. “Right now, we have a lot of folks who want the vaccine. They can’t get it and that’s causing frustration. We will get to a point very soon where we head into our general population and begin vaccinating them. Then we will hit a wall, and we strongly believe that it will be short of 70% of our population needing to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.” 

The plan is to have 70% of Lane County’s population vaccinated by September, “which will help us achieve herd immunity and prevent those large-scale outbreaks … in order to do that, we really need to start talking about vaccine confidence and addressing some of the fears people have around the vaccine and having a conversation with friends,” Davis said. “Public health will be talking about this during press conferences and social media, doing town halls … but the most impact will come from you – having a conversation with friends and loved ones and people who are hesitant about it.”

This weekend, the county plans to vaccinate approximately 2,800 individuals per day, Davis said.