Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced a statewide two-week “freeze” which will limit restaurants and bars to take-out only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.
Watch her speak in the player above.
The freeze will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 and aims to limit group activities and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections and has reached record high positivity rates so far in November.
“Every day it’s infecting more and more Oregonians who think they are safely seeing their friends and their family members. It’s a very dangerous situation,” Brown said during a briefing Friday.
She has long warned about implementing tighter restrictions if Oregon’s cases did not decrease. The latest set of restrictions are the most stringent since the start of the pandemic.
As part of the freeze, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores are limited to a maximum capacity of 75%. Faith based organizations will also have their capacity reduced to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
However, other facilities – gyms and fitness centers, museums, pools, sports courts, movie theaters, zoos, gardens, aquariums and venues – will have to close their doors completely.
Restaurants and bars, which had a capacity limit of 50-100 people depending on the county and curfew of 10 p.m., will now be limited to take-out only.
All businesses will be required to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home “to the greatest extent possible,” Brown said.
Lastly, both indoor and outdoor social get-togethers are limited to six people, total, from no more than two households. In the past, Gov. Brown has described social get-together measures as “self-enforced.”
The freeze does not apply to barber shops, hair salons, congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, and K-12 schools that are currently open.
The percent of people testing positive was nearly 12% statewide, more than double what it was in the summer, according to Oregon Health Authority data.
For the past two weeks officials have expressed concerns about nearing hospital capacity in the state. The Oregon Health Authority reported a record of 303 coronavirus patients in hospitals Friday – a 81% increase since the end of October.
Several major hospitals in Portland have begun curtailing elective surgeries this week amid the surge.
The freeze restrictions come as the governors of California, Oregon and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said.
The advisories urge people to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel, ask people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country and encourage residents to stay local, a statement said.