Updated: August 25, 2020
Written by: Michelle, owner of Lost Plate Portland
I’ve lived in Oregon my whole life and love the city of Portland dearly. Creating food tours in Portland and leading them for over the last few years has been the best and most enjoyable experience of my entire life. So when COVID-19 made its way to my city in March, it was unbelievably hard to witness. But the most amazing thing about Portland is the city’s perseverance and strong sense of community. Because of this, the Portland community took shutdown measures very seriously and have been rightfully slow returning to a “new normal.”
Lately I’ve been getting more and more questions from people around the US wanting to know what Portland is like right now because they are planning a trip. I love these calls because I love to talk about Portland, and it’s encouraging to see people wanting to travel to this beautiful city again! While I’ll admit this is not the best time to travel to Portland and don’t necessarily recommend it, I understand people are going to come regardless. And who can blame them? Portland is the best city ever after all! 🙂 I also understand it can be difficult to truly understand what things are like in a city you don’t live in, and even harder to research what to do when you’re not there. So I put this article together to shed some light on what Portland is like right now because, well, I’m living it. Please keep in mind changes and updates seem to happen daily in Portland and throughout Oregon, so I will keep this updated as best as I can.
This is by no means an “official” or exhaustive update, please refer to city/state, CDC, WHO, and other official government resources for any and all final guidance.
State of Oregon: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19
Multnomah County: https://multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19
FAQ for travelers: https://www.travelportland.com/plan/coronavirus-faq/
As of 7/9/2020, our outdoor Portland Food Cart Tour is available to book! Our Evening and Morning food tours continue to be suspended until further notice.
All counties in Oregon are under a three-phase reopening. This means that counties throughout Oregon are all reopening at a different pace. The city of Portland is in Multnomah County. Please visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19 to read details about each phase and to see what counties are in which phase.
As of 6/19/2020, Multnomah County is in Phase One and must remain in this phase for at least 21 days before advancing to Phase Two. As of 7/8/20, Multnomah County announced that it has not applied for Phase 2 yet and may not for several weeks.
Please note that all non-essential travel is still discouraged. Below are links to official government sources for guidance on travel.
We are currently operating our Portland Food Cart Tour, and hope to launch our other popular tours in September. We have also implemented a bunch of health & safety precautions to keep you safe on our tours. For up-to-date details about our tours, and our precautions, please check out our Covid-19 status page.
Face coverings/masks are REQUIRED for everyone 5 years and older in ALL indoor settings statewide. In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible. If you are traveling in Oregon, please have your face covering/mask with you at all times.
Overall, in Phase 1, restaurants, bars, breweries, etc, can open for dine-in customers with limited capacity, must enforce social distancing, and must close by 10pm. It’s important to note that many restaurants/bars/breweries are not reopening for dine-in customers in this phase. All restaurants have different dine-in procedures/rules and some have limited seating times. Some restaurants are able to expand their seating outdoors to allow more space for social distancing. Many restaurants are doing take out or delivery if they’re not open for dine-in seating. We suggest researching restaurants you would like to visit well before your trip and make reservations early if the restaurant accepts them.
Suggested restaurant opening resource: https://pdx.eater.com/2020/6/18/21295061/bars-restaurants-reopening-friday-covid-multnomah-county
Lately, Downtown Portland looks a little different than usual, but is safe to explore. Due to COVID-19 closures and ongoing peaceful protests, many stores and businesses remain boarded up and there are nightly spontaneous street closures. We advise avoiding the blocks surrounding the federal courthouse and the Justice Center, especially late at night. During the day, many businesses and restaurants are open. If your accommodations are in the Downtown area, we suggest following up with them for more guidance and information.
There are many popular outdoor areas, parks, and attractions in Portland that are open. There are many people out and about throughout the day, getting exercise in and enjoying the days without rain. If you visit a large outdoor space, it is typically easy to social distance from others. We suggest researching areas/events/venues you would like to visit well before your trip to ensure they are open and to make reservations if needed. Some areas currently open include Washington Park, Forest Park, the Japanese Garden, International Rose Test Garden, Pittock Mansion, The Grotto, Waterfront Park and the Eastbank Esplanade, Mt. Tabor, and Powell Butte. Please note many parks are still closed to cars.
Suggested outdoors reopening resource: https://www.oregonlive.com/travel/2020/05/what-outdoor-spaces-have-reopened-in-oregon-which-are-still-closed.html
Some outdoor recreation sites outside of Portland are open, but many popular destinations remain closed. Popular areas in the Columbia River Gorge remain closed indefinitely but Multnomah Falls has reopened with very limited capacity on a first-come-first-serve basis. Most areas on the Oregon Coast have reopened. Many wineries in the Willamette Valley are open for tastings, but most require reservations. If you plan to visit areas outside of Portland, we suggest researching well before your trip and plan accordingly.
Many popular indoor and outdoor attractions in Portland remain closed for now, though some are slowly reopening with limited capacity. Almost all popular events like food/drink festivals, concerts, sporting events, etc, are cancelled. Some attractions open include the Japanese Garden, OMSI, Portland Saturday Market, Portland Farmers Markets, Portland Spirit Cruises, Oregon Zoo, and the Portland Art Museum. We suggest researching things to do well before your trip and make reservations/buy tickets early if possible.
Suggested attraction reopening resource: https://www.travelportland.com/attractions/reopening/
Some malls and shopping centers remain closed until further notice. Stand-alone retail stores can open with limitations. Stores tend to be busier on the weekends, but are doing a great job at limiting the amount of customers inside at one time. Some stores have expanded their shop out onto the sidewalk to make more space for social distancing. We suggest researching retail shops you would like to visit well before your trip to make sure they are open.
Portland public transit (Trimet) is operating with social distancing measures and face masks are required for passengers. Please visit https://trimet.org/ for more details. Multiple rideshare companies are still operating in Portland.
Oregon reopening and restriction details for all other services: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19?gclid=Cj0KCQjwirz3BRD_ARIsAImf7LMEPcV5H1kP-ms8au6PVU0sdnGR1viYtpKEn9dE1LxZhjLIwnoDw5oaAspPEALw_wcB
If you’ve ever been on one of our Portland food tours, you know we are passionate about the food and drink we serve. You probably even heard your tour guide say the dish was “the best thing on the menu” or their “favorite food in all of Portland!” So we’ve compiled some of our favorite recipes from our tour right here, plus a boozy extra, for you to try at home!
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