Lottery opens at  facilities still closed for dining, drinking

Chris Hahn, owner of the Thunderegg Coffee Shop in Nyssa, serves a customer at the front counter in May. While nobody can eat or drink in the shop per current state mandates related to COVID, they can go in six at a time to play lottery.


Video lottery machines have been turned back on at businesses that offer them, but their use is restricted in high-risk areas for COVID-19, and no food or drink is allowed inside.

The video lottery machines were turned on about 10 am. Friday, said Denine Tucker, manager of the Thunderegg Coffee Company in Nyssa, who said people are slowly returning to play, learning mostly through word of mouth that the machines are back on.

It is busy in the morning, Tucker said, with people waiting for them to open at 7 a.m.

“It is quiet this afternoon,” she said Monday.

People are not allowed to wait inside for an open machine, she said.

“As we have throughout this pandemic, Lottery follows operating guidance provided from state health officials and the governor’s office,” Matt Shelby, a senior manager at the Oregon Lottery, said in an email.

“From a complete shutdown of Video Lottery, to a tiered opening structure with escalating safety requirements in higher risk counties.”

According to information posted by the state, lottery terminals must be placed 6 feet apart, no more than six people are allowed at lottery terminals inside a business, and only one person is allowed at around a terminal. Another rule is that lottery players must wear face covering.

Last week, the Lottery relaxed some rules allowing some access, however rules banning indoor dining or drinks still apply.

“Not even a glass of water,” said Sara Lynch, manager of Brewsky’s Broiler, commenting she does not plan to open the business for lottery players until people are allowed to dine-in.

“We think it is double standard,” she said. “If people can gamble indoors they should be able to eat, she said.

“That’s insane,” state Sen. Lynn Findley said from Salem. “I think it is an overreach,” commenting that small business needs more relief.

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