PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The weekend of July 4 is usually reserved for big backyard gatherings and holiday celebrations, but with COVID-19 infection rates rising in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown has a message for families.
The governor is pleading for people to stay home, as she says the upcoming holiday is a critical point for Oregon in the ongoing pandemic.
On Monday, Brown instituted a statewide face covering mandate. She said she did not want to close businesses again as has happened in other states that are seeing a spike in cases. She said Oregon Occupational Safety and Health will take the lead in enforcing face covering requirements for all covered Oregon businesses.
If you do gather for July 4 this weekend, the governor is asking people to keep gathering local and small in size. Health officials tracked a spike right after Memorial Day weekend, and they’re worried the same thing could happen again.
“I know many of you were planning your typical backyard barbecue bash, please keep it to members of your own household,” Brown said.
Chief Epidemiologist with Washington County Public Health Kimberly Repp says they’re seeing a significant increase in cases.
Repp says even though Phase 1allows gatherings of up to 25 people, she admits it’s hard to physical distance with people you’re comfortable with, so its better not to host a backyard barbeque with anyone outside your household this weekend.
“I am a scientist I’m not a politician so all I can tell you is if people are sick and in quarantine, they’re not going to be able to work anyway,” Repp said. “The Oregon Health Authority collects metrics on which we evaluate whether we should open or close. we are almost failing every single metric data wise. So it would literally be against all available information to go any further and in fact the data say we should probably take a step back.”
The governor says if the state continues down this path, she may need to follow in other state’s steps to close restaurants and other businesses.
Multnomah County was the last county in the state to enter Phase 1 two Fridays ago. It’s now aligned with Washington and Clackamas counties as a regional unit for future reopening decisions, which may be on hold for some time.
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