Oregon Governor Kate Brown is providing daily updates on Oregon's response to coronavirus. Beth Nakamura/Oregonian/Oregonlive
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This article was originally published by the Oregonian/OregonLive, one of more than a dozen news organizations throughout the state sharing their coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak to help inform Oregonians about this evolving health issue.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Monday morning that she is not ready to impose a curfew or broader shutdown on bars and restaurants, despite a new federal recommendation against events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.
"I’m thinking about how something like this can impact Oregonians across the state,” Brown said during an extremely brief call with reporters Monday morning. The governor had suggested she was considering a curfew or temporary closure mandate in a call with journalists Sunday evening.
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Instead, Brown said Monday morning that she expects to make "a major announcement on hospital capacity” by the afternoon.
Brown said her current position on imposing a curfew or ordering restaurants and bars to close temporarily was based at least in part by pushback from elected officials. In a Sunday night telephone call with nearly 200 elected officials from around the state, the governor said she heard that “in our rural communities, restaurants are a key provider of meals to a lot of the elderly and vulnerable folks ..."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends there be no events with 50 or more people for the next eight weeks and dozens of eateries and bars in the Portland area have already announced plans to shutter temporarily.
A growing list of chefs, bartenders, bakers, winemakers, public relations professionals and culinary event organizers has also signed an open letter urging the governor to close all Oregon restaurants and bars, effective immediately. As one restaurateur noted over the weekend, many small businesses must wait for a government order to close so they can qualify for loss of business insurance.
A statewide ban on events of more than 250 people has been in effect since Wednesday.
Although the governor held off imposing closures on restaurants and bars, she pleaded for younger Oregonians to avoid congregating in them and instead practice social distancing.
“There’s no vaccine, there’s no medicine for coronavirus,” Brown said. “And we know the virus is in our communities.” Young and healthy Oregonians “can be contagious even if you are asymptomatic” and avoiding contact with large numbers of other people “is a matter of life and death for others,” the governor said.