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Oregon’s Statewide “Freeze” Due To COVID Surge Begins

PORTLAND, Ore. — A statewide freeze in Oregon is now in effect due to surging cases of COVID-19.  Governor Kate Brown last week ordered the freeze from November 18th to December 2nd, but it will be two weeks longer in Multnomah County due to the increase in cases.

Restaurants are limited to take-out and delivery only.  No outdoor dining is allowed.  Grocery stores, retail stores and pharmacies can only operate at 75% capacity.  Other businesses including gyms, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums must close.  Workplaces must also requires employees to work from home as much as possible.

Social gatherings should be limited to six people from no more than two households.

Governor Brown issued an executive order on Tuesday making the measures enforceable by law.

“I know Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices throughout this pandemic and that these new, temporary restrictions may seem daunting,” said Governor Brown.  “But, we are at a breaking point. If we don’t take further action, we risk continued alarming spikes in infections and hospitalizations, and we risk the lives of our neighbors and loved ones.  I also know that Oregonians come together in times of need, and we owe it to each other to take these measures seriously. It is up to all of us to work together to get this virus under control.”

Executive Order 20-65 addresses the following in detail:

  • Limiting at-home and social gatherings, as well as faith institutions
  • Limiting the maximum capacity for grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores
  • Restricting food and drink establishments to take-out only
  • Requiring workplaces to mandate work-from-home as much as possible
  • Closing certain businesses, including gyms, museums, zoos, and indoor recreation facilities

The Governor’s Office says the freeze “does not apply to or change current health and safety protocols for personal services (such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy), congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions, and higher education — all of which can continue operating under previous guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.”

Violating the restrictions can result in a citation, fine or arrest.  Violations in the workplace should be reported Oregon OSHA and restaurant violations to OSHA or the OLCC.

Oregon State Police said: “With the issuance of the latest Executive Order, Oregon Law enforcement will continue to follow an education first approach. Oregon Law Enforcement will only take enforcement action (criminal citations) as a last resort.”

The Governor is urging voluntary compliance and says the measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are a necessity to give Oregon a fighting chance to flatten the curve and save lives.

Governor Brown added: “I expect local law enforcement to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law. A large majority of Oregonians continue to do the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. However, when Oregonians don’t take COVID-19 seriously, and don’t take steps to reduce the spread of the disease, they put all of us at risk. We need all Oregonians to use common sense, make smart choices, and take seriously their individual responsibilities during a public health emergency.”

Masks are required statewide for people age 5 and older in:

  • All workplaces, indoor public spaces, public and private colleges and universities, and indoor and outdoor markets
  • Outdoor public spaces when physical distancing of at least six feet is not possible
  • People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from the business if they cannot wear one

For more on the restrictions, click here.

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