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courtesy of Jupiter Hotel

A Portland hotel is offering help to small local businesses preparing to reopen.

The new rules that will apply to those Oregon counties that get the go-ahead to enter Phase One of Gov. Kate Brown's reopening plan could wind up leaving some workers scrambling for space to do their jobs. Per the state guidelines, barbershops, salons, tattoo parlors, and other personal services will need to ensure six feet between client/provider pairings, and limit the number of people inside these businesses.

Once that becomes a reality here in Portland, the folks at the Jupiter NEXT are ready to offer a solution. The luxury hotel on Southeast 9th will partition its Arium Ballroom, a nearly 3,000 square foot space, for personal service workers to take care of their clients. The space will be free of charge.

According to Jupiter Hotel's general manager Nick Pearson, the idea came to him while he stayed in touch with his barber.

"One of things he told me was that once shops are able to open, there's not going to be enough space in them due to the physical distancing that will be required," Pearson says. "Once they reopen, you're going to have this storm of shops needing to make money after being closed for two months, and barbers needing to make money after being unemployed for two months. So we just figured, we have this giant space that's not being utilized right now. It would be a great way to generate a little energy in the building and support small businesses who will be starting up under irregular times and rules."

In keeping with the Brown's guidelines, these services will only be able to take clients by appointment only, and they will have to do a health screening with their clients first. The hotel will, in turn, help make sure that the ballroom is being cleaned and sanitized regularly.

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"We're all going to be figuring out how all this works," Pearson says. "To some extent, everyone is new at this and we're all learning how to navigate a world of social distancing."

Any personal service reopening is contingent on Multnomah County applying to be part of the Phase One plan, which, as of this Tuesday, hasn't happened yet. In the meantime, anyone who wants more information about Jupiter NEXT's offer is encouraged to email Pearson at nick@jupiterhotel.com.

The staff at the Jupiter have already proven willing to step up during this crisis. In late March, they entered into an agreement with Multnomah County's Joint Office of Homeless Service to make the 81 rooms in the Jupiter Hotel available to houseless residents showing coronavirus symptoms. According to Pearson, that arrangement will be in place at least until the emergency declaration ends on July 7.