With the start of phase 1 reopening in Multnomah County June 19, restaurants were able to open, so long as they maintain social distancing between patrons. But one downtown Portland feeding site — Blanchet House of Hospitality — will continue to serve meals to-go for the foreseeable future.

“When full, our cafe holds up to 80 people including meal guests, volunteers, and resident staff moving through the space,” said Scott Kerman, executive director of the Catholic-founded feeding and housing ministry. “If you’ve been a part of a meal service before, you know that social distancing would be an impossibility using our four-person tables.”

Kerman, in a note to supporters, added that because the demand for Blanchet meals is so high, limiting the number of diners in the cafe would result in long wait times for guests outdoors.

“We would also need to rush diners in order to make room for the people waiting outside and that would greatly stress everyone especially our many guests struggling with mental health and drug issues,” Kerman said.

He explained that the to-go meal service has been efficient and friendly and has allowed staff and volunteers to continue to greet guests individually.

“Please know that Blanchet’s mission of restoring dignity and treating everyone with respect has not been lost during this time of to-go service,” Kerman said. “We will invite our guests back into the cafe to enjoy a meal in comfort as soon as it's safe and feasible to do so.”