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Multnomah County officials said they could not submit their plan in time for closing the vaccination gap.

Multnomah County missed the May 14 deadline for applying to ease COVID-19 restrictions.Multnomah and Washington counties split over applying to be moved quickly into the "Lower Risk" pandemic restriction categories authorized by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

Both counties are close to meeting the standard Brown announced on Wednesday, May 12, that 65% of residents 16 and older must have received their first COVID-19 vaccination.

Washington County applied to move out of the more restrictive "High Risk" category by also submitting a plan to the Oregon Health Authority to close the vaccination gap between ethnic groups. If approved, the county could be classified as "Lower Risk" on Friday, May 21.

But Multnomah County did not apply by the Friday deadline. As first reported by the Portland Mercury, county officials said they did not have enough time to prepare a plan to close the vaccination gap.

The differences between the two classifications are significant. In counties classified as "High Risk," indoor dining is limited to 25% capacity. In "Lower Risk" categories, it is 50%.

Multnomah County officials said they expect to submit their application next Friday in hopes of being reclassified by May 28, just before Memorial Day.

Other counties that applied for "Lower Risk" classification include Benton, Lincoln, Washington, Hood River and Deschutes. Their plans are under review.

COURTESY OHA - A chart of the Oregon Health Authority pandemic risk restriction categories.

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