Oregon, Washington reopenings mark return to business in mainland US

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon and Washington have lifted most of their COVID-19 restrictions to become two of the last states to broadly ease virus orders put in place in the very first days of the pandemic.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown held a news conference Wednesday morning at Providence Park in Portland, saying “this is truly a historic moment for our state.”

“However, while we enter a new chapter today, our work is far from over,” she said to a small crowd of frontline workers, state health, and city and county leaders. “We will be relentless in our efforts to finish the job, closing our equity gaps, and reaching every Oregonian with information and vaccines. That means we need to continue this education effort, person to person, neighbor to neighbor.”

New Mexico is scheduled to reopen Thursday, marking a return to business in all mainland U.S. states following 16 months of disruption.

The last holdout — Hawaii — has loosened some travel rules but is slated to maintain other restrictions until 70% of its population is fully vaccinated.

The moves come as concern grows about a new coronavirus variant that threatens to set the country back in the months ahead.

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