CORONAVIRUS, Government, Washington County

Washington County in ‘Extreme Risk’ category under new restrictions beginning December 3

A graph from the Oregon Health Authority showing county risk categories as of November 23

In a new framework announced Wednesday afternoon, Governor Kate Brown unveiled restrictions that will begin on December 3, continuing many of the restrictions from the “freeze” that began on Wednesday, November 18 and ends December 2. 

Washington County is among 21 counties in the state categorized as at the worst risk of individuals catching the coronavirus, which means that it is likely the county will see a continuation of most of the restrictions already in place. The data that placed those counties in that category is from November 23. 

There are four categories, including “Extreme Risk,” “High Risk,” “Moderate Risk,” and “Lower Risk,” each of which has varying levels of restrictions on counties depending on where they fall into any given category. 

The state is likely to be under these restrictions until a vaccine has become readily available in Oregon, Brown and top health officials in Oregon said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. 

For those counties expected to be in “Extreme Risk” on December 3, here’s an overview on some of the changes from the “Freeze” rules.

Social and home gatherings will be limited to six people, with the state recommending that no more than two households be mixed. 

In a speck of good news for the restaurant industry, starting December 3, outdoor dining will be permitted, though no more than 50 people can be present at a restaurant and there may be no more than six people per table.

For grocery and retail stores, though, capacity will be capped at 50%, down from 75%.

Indoor recreation, gyms, and entertainment facilities must remain closed, though outdoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment activities will be permitted with a max limit of 50 people. 

Moving from a hard cap of 25 people, faith-based institutions, funeral homes, mortuaries, and cemeteries will be moved to 25% capacity or 100 people inside, whichever is smaller, or 150 people outdoors.

A graph from the Oregon Health Authority showing restrictions based on risk categories. View a higher quality .pdf here.

The announcement comes the day before Thanksgiving, with health officials pleading with Oregonians to limit their holiday travel and gathering size in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

The state announced that 20 more people had died as a result of the virus on Tuesday, pegging the death toll in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority, at 867.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

Sign up for Banks area news in your inbox ↓

The groceries your family needs!