PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Adjusted safety measures will be put in place for Oregon counties, including 21 counties deemed to be in “extreme risk” for spreading COVID-19, at the conclusion of a two-week freeze statewide.
Gov. Kate Brown and Oregon health officials announced their new risk-based health and safety framework for the state to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Each county will be given a risk level – extreme, high, moderate and lower – that will determine measures and guidance for people and businesses.
The “freeze” was announced by Brown on Nov. 13 and went into effect Nov. 18. It included sweeping restrictions for every county in the state, including limiting restaurants and bars to take-out only, while also closing gyms and other businesses and activities.
The order led to a lawsuit against Brown from the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Restaurant Law Center.
Brown said Wednesday that changes were being made to the state’s approach to controlling the virus after the freeze because a one-size-fits-all approach wasn’t ideal moving forward. She also referenced preserving livelihoods while balancing safety and saving lives.
The difference in risk levels for allowed indoor social gatherings, for example, is: Lower risk: Max 10, recommended limit four households; Moderate risk: Max 8, recommended limit 2 households; High and Extreme risk: Max 6, recommended limit 2 households.
For bars and restaurants: Lower risk: Indoor dining at 50% capacity; Moderate risk: Indoor dining at 50% capacity or a max of 100; High risk: Indoor dining not to exceed 25%; Extreme risk: Outdoor dining only, max capacity of 50.
In counties with extreme risk, the following activities will be allowed, with health and safety protocols in place:
- Social and at-home gatherings with people from outside your household will be limited to a maximum of six people, with a recommended limit of two households.
- Restaurants, bars, and other eating and drinking establishments will be limited to a maximum of 50 people for outdoor dining only, with only six people per table. Take-out is strongly encouraged.
- Indoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment establishments, including gyms, will remain closed, however, outdoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment activities, including outdoor gym activities, will be allowed, with a maximum limit of 50 people outdoors.
- Retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and indoor and outdoor shopping centers and malls will be limited to a maximum of 50% of capacity, with curbside pick-up encouraged.
- Faith institutions, funeral homes, mortuaries, and cemeteries will be limited to a maximum of 25% of capacity or 100 people indoors (whichever is smaller), or 150 people outdoors.
- Office workplaces will be required to utilize remote work to the maximum extent possible, with public-facing offices closed to the public.
- Personal services businesses will be allowed to continue to operate with health and safety measures in place.
- Long-term care facilities can allow limited outdoor visitation, following established health and safety protocols.
The Oregon Health Authority will reexamine county data Nov. 30 to determine which counties will be put under each risk level starting at the end of the freeze Dec. 3. That information will then be reviewed and adjusted as necessary every two weeks.
As of this week, the counties are in the following categories:
- Hood River
Oregon counties that are successful in reducing their COVID-19 risk levels in the coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower risk level, according to the governor’s office.
“It’s important to note that there is no Zero Risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen, and stay open. At every risk level, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, Oregonians must continue to wear face coverings, watch their physical distance, wash hands, stay home when sick, and keep social get-togethers and gatherings small,” according to the governor’s office.
OHA reported that there were 8,687 new daily COVID-19 cases reported for the week of Nov. 16-22, along with 61 deaths linked to the virus and 366 coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization, all weekly records for the state during the pandemic.
For the week of Nov. 15-21, 129,564 tests were administered statewide, with a 7.2% positive rate.
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