Everything you need to know about new COVID-19 restrictions as Oregon "freezes" this week

Nov 16 2020, 8:02 am

Though not exactly a strict lockdown per se, Oregonians will need to adjust to a slew of new restrictions starting this week to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Amid record-high tallies of virus cases in the State of Oregon in recent weeks, Governor Kate Brown has enacted strict new regulations for both public and private life in efforts to calm the virus’s community spread.

The “two-week freeze” will slap new restrictions on things like indoor dining, various outdoor activities and capacity restrictions on grocery stores and other establishments.

The current situation in Oregon is “very dangerous,” Gov. Brown stressed in a press conference on Friday, November 13, adding that there has been an increasing sporadic community spread of the virus, and hospitals in the Portland metro area are continuously expecting an influx of virus-related patients.

“If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives,” Gov. Brown said. “I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide. And in Oregon, we actually can do this.”

The new measures will go into effect this Wednesday, November 18, and are expected to last until at least December 2. Here’s what’s changing:

  • Both indoor and outdoor social gatherings are limited to no more than six people and no more than two households. In light of needed clarification on this one, Gov. Brown stressed that this means you should only socialize with one other household. For those who live alone, “choose up to five other people total to socialize with, and that is it.” And of course, masks and physical distancing are a given for these gatherings both indoors and outdoors.
  • Bars and restaurants are back to take-out and delivery service only.
  • Gyms and other fitness centres are closed.
  • Various indoor venues are closed, including indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities and outdoor pools are closed.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies will operate at a max 75% capacity, as will indoor and outdoor retail stores and retail malls.
  • All venues that host indoor and outdoor events are closed.
  • Indoor visiting in long-term care facilities is prohibited, while outdoor visiting is allowed.
  • Faith-based organizations are limited to a max of 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

In addition to these restrictions, all businesses are asked to close offices to the public and mandate work-from-home measures as much as possible.

Even with all the new restrictions in place, this isn’t necessarily another “Stay Home order,” Gov. Brown clarified. There are no changes to current protocols for things like K-12 schools, higher educations, youth programs, and personal services like barbershops, hair salons and non-medical massage therapy.

In fact, the Governor encouraged outdoor recreation and camping, and of course, she stressed the importance of supporting local businesses both to help them and to “maintain a sense of normalcy.”

The two-week freeze announced Friday comes as the state of Oregon joins California and Washington in issuing a travel advisory, urging visitors entering the state to self-quarantine for two weeks and discouraging non-essential travel out of the state.

 

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