Central Oregon remains at ‘Extreme Risk’; Brown allows modified gym reopenings

Central Oregon will remain at the “Extreme Risk” level for the spread of COVID through Feb. 11th, but Gov. Brown announced Tuesday some indoor activities, such as gyms and movie theaters can reopen with a limited capacity beginning Friday.

The modifications allow for a maximum of six people indoors at facilities over 500 square feet as long as everyone adheres to social distancing and face-covering protocols.

For facilities smaller than 500 square feet, the modified guidance allows for 1:1 customer experiences, such as personal training, the governor’s office said.

Indoor dining is still prohibited.

The updated guidance for indoor recreation will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov by Friday.

“The science has shown us that outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities when it comes to the spread of COVID 19, which is why we have clearly delineated guidance between indoor and outdoor activities,” Brown said. “We have seen over the last several weeks that Oregonians have largely complied with risk levels to the point that we have not seen a surge in hospitalizations that would have jeopardized hospital capacity. This means we are able to make these adjustments for Extreme Risk counties, which should assist both businesses and Oregonians as we continue to work to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Just three Oregon counties improved their risk level according to an update released by Brown.

Effective January 29 through February 11, there will be 25 counties in the Extreme Risk level, two at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and seven at Lower Risk.

A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.

“Most of the state remains in the Extreme Risk category,” Brown said. “This is an important reminder for all Oregonians to continue to do their part by abiding by the health and safety guidelines in place. Until vaccines are widely available with high participation rates, the surest way to lower our risk and open our businesses and communities is to continue practicing the measures we know are effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 — wear your mask, keep physical distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick.”

The Oregon Health Authority will examine and publish county data weekly.

County risk levels will be reassigned every two weeks.

The first week’s data will provide a “warning week” to prepare counties for potential risk level changes. The next assignment of risk levels will be announced February 9 and take effect February 11.

Updates to Warning Week data and county risk levels will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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