Gov. Kate Brown on Monday issued a statewide shutdown urging people to stay at home to the “maximum extent possible” and adding to the list of businesses that must temporarily close to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until further notice. Failure to comply with the order will be considered an immediate danger to public health and subject to a Class C misdemeanor, Brown said in the announcement.
“Staying home both keeps you safe from infection, and ensures you do not unknowingly infect others,” Brown said.
She said the new, stricter order was necessary because it was clear many Oregonians weren’t following proper social distancing rules previously laid out by health officials and state and federal guidelines.
“I started by asking Oregonians to stay home and practice social distancing. Then I urged the public to follow these recommendations. Instead, thousands crowded the beaches of our coastal communities, our trails, our parks, and our city streets, potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering the lives of others across the state,” she said. “Now, I’m ordering it. To save lives and protect our community.”
“Today, I am issuing a new executive order further requiring social distancing measures because we know this is the most effective way to flatten the curve and slow the spread of this virus. I hope everyone in Oregon abides by
the core message: stay home unless absolutely necessary.”
Monday’s order closes businesses where close personal contact is unavoidable, such as arcades, barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters and yoga studios. Also closed are outdoor playgrounds, sport courts and public and private campgrounds. It also closes malls and retail complexes, bowling alleys, pool halls, swimming pools and amusement parks.
Essential retail businesses that remain open, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, must enforce social distancing measures of six feet or more between customers, Brown said.
Bars, restaurants and coffee shops can continue to serve takeout and delivery, but will remain closed for dine-in service.
Hiking trails will remain open but the order gives the state authority to close them immediately if crowds of people show up that prevent social distancing of six feet, Nik Blosser, Brown’s chief of staff, said in a phone interview Monday.
“We’re not unilaterally closing every trail or park. But we now have the authority to pretty quickly close them if people don’t observe those guidelines,” he said.
The order also outlines new guidelines for child care facilities. Day cares must keep children in groups of 10 or fewer students to limit the number of contacts. Day care facilities that remain open must also prioritize the children of first responders, doctors, nurses and other critical medical workers when accepting children for care.
“None of us have ever been through this before, and that means there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead. We don’t know yet when this outbreak will end, or what changes this will bring for our state and for our country,” she said. “But I want to make sure that we’ve done all we can to end it as quickly as possible.”
Defying the executive order is technically a Class C misdemeanor, which could mean up to 30 days in jail or a $1,250 fine.
“Our last resort would be enforcement, but that is not something that we’re going to go to quickly,” Lt. Julianne McConkey with the Bend Police Department said. “We’re hoping that people will understand the importance of the social distancing, and making sure that we’re all abiding by the Governor’s order.”
The Oregon Health Authority reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, bringing the state total to 191.
The COVID-19 cases reported were in the following counties: Clackamas (2), Hood River (1), Linn (1), Marion (8), Multnomah (2), Polk (2), Washington (14).
While many businesses and organizations that are heavily dependent on foot traffic and in-person interactions have already closed or will close under the expanded order, other businesses that make robust plans to meet social distancing requirements—and enforce those requirements—may remain in operation, preserving jobs while ensuring health, Brown said in the statement.
“This order is designed to flatten the curve over the coming weeks, preserving scarce hospital space and equipment. It will also ensure that any place of business that remains operational does its part to enforce social distancing rules,” Brown said. “It is designed to be more sustainable over time, to allow Oregonians to keep their jobs when their work does not add to the growth of COVID-19 in Oregon.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.