Most of Oregon can resume limited operations, including Portland
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Gov. Kate Brown announced last week that counties could apply for Phase I reopening, which would allow limited business operations to resume, including dine-in services and fitness facilities. Most of the counties in the state – 33 of 36 – applied for the first phase of reopening, with 28 of the counties approved.
In counties not entering Phase I on May 15, certain operations can still resume, including outdoor recreation areas, non-emergency medical care, and faith gatherings. Unapproved counties will only be allowed gatherings of 10 people or less, while Phase I counties can allow gatherings of up to 25 people.
In order to reopen, counties must demonstrate declining prevalence of COVID-19, testing ability of 30 tests per 10,000 residents per week, contact tracing and isolation facilities.
The governor’s office noted that applications for three counties are pending, and applications for Marion and Polk counties were denied. The state will continue to monitor those counties for seven days to see if conditions improve.
Residents mainly expected the rural counties to receive permission, but even urban Portland has been given permission to reopen some businesses.
“In each of these counties we will continue to monitor testing rates, effectiveness at contract tracing and isolation of new cases, hospitalization rates and other metrics that are required to remain open in Phase One,” Brown said in a statement.
“I am focused on protecting the health and safety of Oregonians, while understanding that job losses have a negative impact on public health––both physical and emotional health.”
Oregon instituted a “Stay Home, Save Lives” directive on March 23, which closed businesses and required social distancing in an effort to discourage reasons for citizens to leave their homes. Gradual easing on restrictions started on April 27 with the resumption of non-urgent care procedures.
Oregon has suffered a relatively limited impact from the pandemic, with 3,479 confirmed cases as of Friday, with 137 deaths.
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