Stay home order: Take a walk? Sure. Travel to recreate? No.
With Oregon's new stay-at-home order officially announced, Oregonians have new rules to follow in order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The rules include two seemingly contradictory mandates — allowing residents to "exercise outside" but prohibiting "making unnecessary trips."
After all, many were outraged after images surfaced of crowded beaches along the Oregon coast this weekend. Cars were seen parked in ditches after spots filled up near scenic areas in the Gorge and local trailheads.
So what's the best way to stay safe and prevent transmission of COVID-19 to loved ones?
"The message is stay at or near home. There's specific guidelines that say don't travel for recreational purposes," Nik Blosser, chief of staff for Gov. Kate Brown, said in a phone interview. "But if you're going to walk down the street or go for a run, that's OK."
The new statewide rules have already shuttered playgrounds, sports fields, picnic shelters, dog parks, skate parks, and basketball, tennis, pickleball and other rec courts in many cities.
Public access at Multnomah Falls has ended indefinitely. In an interview, Forest Service spokeswoman Rachel Pawlitz told the Tribune rangers continue to monitor usage at a number of other hotspots.
Thousand Acres, officially known as Sandy River Delta park in the Troutdale area, is being "very heavily used" at the moment, but users are currently doing a better job of keeping six feet apart. That said...
"I can't take anything off the table, in terms of where we will decide to close our sites, especially our notoriously high-use sites," Pawlitz said. "The situation is very fluid."
On the Oregon Coast, city councils have already shutdown hotels and ordered tourists to leave town in some areas. And Gov. Brown publicly admonished sightseers on Sunday. Blosser, the chief of staff, admits that not everyone followed her earlier orders over the weekend.
On Friday night, I asked all Oregonians, on the eve of spring break, to stay home and stay healthy. Unfortunately, our trails and beaches were packed this weekend. I want to be absolutely clear, you are endangering all Oregonians when not following social distancing orders.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) March 22, 2020
"She was disappointed at some people's activities, but that was only a handful of people," he said. "For the most part, I think Oregonians are rallying together to support their neighbors and communities."
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