PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Wednesday marked a major milestone as Oregon fully reopened the state and removed any remaining COVID-19 restrictions.
Governor Kate Brown held a celebration in Providence Park Wednesday to honor the milestone.
“Today, Oregon is 100% fully open,” she declared. “This is truly a historic moment for our state.”
Also in attendance at the event was Hector Calderon, the first person to officially contract COVID-19 in Oregon more than 400 days ago.
“I’m so happy. I’m so happy to be alive,” he said.
Calderon survived a coma from his illness. As the pandemic stretched on, he said he thought going back to normal life may never be a possibility again.
“Seriously, I was saying maybe not,” he said.
Around Portland Wednesday, while some ditched their masks, many people still opted to wear one while walking around. Many businesses still have signs out saying they will continue to require masks as well.
Throughout the city, the announcement that Oregon has reopened received some mixed reactions.
“I want people to be safe and I still feel like we’re not really elevating the health and equities that we’ve needed to. And I think the most marginalized are still being marginalized throughout this,” said Nicole Hubert.
“We’re going to have to get back to work and I am a little hesitant about it, but I want to get back to normal, so I think that if you’re vaccinated, you need to do that,” said Paige Polizois.
But, after the last year, many business owners say they are excited for Wednesday and will no longer have COVID-19 measures in place.
“We are going to require our employees to wear masks, just to make sure that anyone who’s coming in does feel comfortable and we’re not turning anyone in by any means. But if you’re comfortable, and your vaccinated, you can come in without a mask,” said Eli Abramovitz, the head of operations at Portland Gear.
Though the state has reopened, Governor Brown said she wants to remind people that the pandemic is not over.
“Our work is not finished. We will be relentless in our efforts to finish the job. Closing the equity gaps and giving every Oregonian with information and a vaccine,” she said.
And at the press conference, doctors said they will continue making sure everyone has equitable access to the vaccine.
“Let’s be proud of what we have accomplished together. We have all done so much. But let’s also keep working together for the good of each other and our community,” said Dr. Judi Guzman-Cottrill, and infectious disease expert at OHSU.