Traffic crowds Highway 26 as it heads toward Seaside. Photo: Amy Lodge-Trussell.
Coronavirus resources: CDC on the coronavirus, Oregon Health Authority resources, Washington County resources, Oregonian reporting on the coronavirus, OPB glossary of coronavirus terms, NYTimes free reporting on the coronavirus.
PORTLAND – Health and elected officials urged Oregonians to stay home, keep their distance between each other to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Thousands of Oregonians ignored the recommendations, flocking to beaches, state parks, and trails, living without apparent regard for a global pandemic.
Now, under this reality, and facing pressure from mayors and other elected officials and medical trade groups, Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order No. 20-12, which brings a new series of orders, including mandating stricter social distancing guidelines, closing certain businesses, and more. The order also makes any violation of the executive order a class C misdemeanor.
The order is effective immediately, and will be in full force until terminated by the governor.
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“I started by asking Oregonians to stay home and practice social distancing. Then I urged the public to follow these recommendations. Instead, thousands crowded the beaches of our coastal communities, our trails, our parks, and our city streets, potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering the lives of others across the state. Now, I’m ordering it. To save lives and protect our community,” said Governor Kate Brown in a press release on Monday.
“Today, I am issuing a new executive order further requiring social distancing measures because we know this is the most effective way to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus. I hope everyone in Oregon abides by its core message: stay home unless absolutely necessary.
“Staying home both keeps you safe from infection, and ensures you do not unknowingly infect others.”
Some of the additional measures now in place include the following (read the executive order for all new measures):
— Individuals must stay at their home or place of residence “to the maximum extent possible.”
— Nonessential social or recreational gatherings of any size outside of a home are banned, unless a distance of at least six feet can be maintained.
— Individuals can go outside for recreational activities such as hiking or running, but must not have any contact with anyone else and must maintain six feet between them and other people.
— Individuals must minimize travel, traveling only to their home, or workplace, to obtain or provide food, shelter, essential consumer needs, education, healthcare or emergency services, for essential businesses and government services, or to care for family or household members, those with disabilities, the elderly, or minors in their care, or to care for pets and livestock.
If directed by law enforcement, government officials, or courts, individuals may travel as well.
— A number of businesses deemed nonessential are closed at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning, including spas, barbershops, hair salons, boutiques, fraternal organization facilities, social and private clubs, tattoo parlors, theaters, bowling alleys, indoor and outdoor malls, and more.
— The order does not change food and drink establishment orders already in place that mandate takeout and delivery only.
— Malls may continue to operate grocery, healthcare, pet and pharmacy, and food services, as long as they follow existing orders regarding takeout only.
— Most other businesses not ordered closed must appoint an employee or officer to establish social distancing guidelines consistent with the Oregon Health Authority or face closure until they comply.
— Businesses and nonprofits must enact work-from-home and telework policies where possible; if those options are available, employees may not go to their offices.
— Businesses that do not follow these rules will be closed until they comply.
— Similar rules apply to state executive government buildings, but not to federal, local or tribal buildings.
— All private and public campgrounds are closed. The order does not prohibit camp hosts or veterans from remaining at state campgrounds, nor does it apply to RV parks or other housing.
— All pools, skate parks, outdoor sports courts, and playground equipment areas are closed.
— Signs requiring social distancing must be posted at public recreation areas that are permitted to remain open under the executive order at entrances, exits, and prominent areas. On-site restrooms must have trash cans, soap and water, or hand sanitizer available.
“None of us have ever been through this before, and that means there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead. We don’t know yet when this outbreak will end, or what changes this will bring for our state and for our country. But I want to make sure that we’ve done all we can to end it as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Brown.
This is a developing story and will be updated.