It's official: Oregon governor says stay at home
Gov. Kate Brown is ordering more Oregonians stay home unless they are getting groceries, going to work or engaged in important activities that cannot wait.
In an executive order issued Monday morning, March 23, Brown said her stay-at-home order was about "keeping Oregon moving as much as we can, while keeping people home and stopping the spread."
The order will close more businesses, impose penalties for failure to comply and require that open businesses enforce social distancing guidelines. But some businesses can stay open for pick-up or delivery services.
"Staying home both keeps you safe from infection and ensures you do not unknowingly infect others," Brown said. "None of us have ever been through this before, and that means there is no way to know exactly what lies ahead."
Key provisions of her order include:
• Oregonians should stay home whenever possible.
• Violating the order could be a Class C misdemeanor.
• Except for members of the same residential household, all non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, unless people can stay at least six feet apart.
• Retail businesses are closed if it is difficult to avoid close personal contact. Examples include arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters and yoga studios.
• Businesses allowed to remain open must implement social-distancing policies "consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. With the exception of those businesses, shopping malls must close, whether indoor or outdoor.
• Playgrounds, sports courts, skate parks and some other outdoor recreation facilities are closed. Facilities allowed to remain open, apparently including golf courses, must strictly follow social distancing guidelines.
• Child care facilities are restricted to "stable groups of 10 or fewer children," meaning that the children must be in the same group each day.
• Public and private campgrounds are closed, although veterans and camp hosts can remain in state parks. RV parks and other housing may remain open.
• State agencies generally are closed to the public, except by appointment in some circumstances, and state employees should work remotely if possible. Brown urged local, tribal and federal offices to do the same.
Through much of the weekend, the governor had resisted issuing a statewide stay-home order. Monday morning's announcement was not accompanied by a press conference to answer questions. The city of Portland, backed by the leaders of the metro-area counties, was prepared to issue its own stay-home order.
Helping small-business owners
The coronavirus response committee continued to pore through proposals to help Oregon businesses and residents respond to the economic and health aspects of the pandemic. On Monday morning, they discussed such issues unemployment benefits and potential delay of the new corporate activity tax.
"It is important we do things on a statewide level so we not move the problem around to different places," said Sen. Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, during the meeting after the order was issued.
The committee also looked at unemployment benefits and other issues. Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, asked about economic assistance for independent contractors, such as hairdressers, who are not eligible for unemployment. It is unclear whether such businesses will be eligible for federal assistance.
"They are the smallest of the small-business owners," said committee co-chair Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene. "That's something we've got to figure out."
Holvey said most actions that will be taken in a special legislative session would be temporary measures, not permanent state policy.
Businesspeople and Republican legislators proposed that agencies "pause all non-essential rulemaking and workgroups not related to the COVID-19 response." Holvey said the governor may need changes in state law to have that flexibility.
Rep. Duane Stark, R-Grants Pass, said regulations on workers' maximum hours and on predictive scheduling are among those that should be eased as employers deal with coronavirus. Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, said county offices should be allowed to open fewer hours than required by state laws. All state parks were closing as of Monday, with campers required to vacate their sites by 1 p.m. and day-use areas closing at 5 p.m.
Brown's order will close:
"Amusement parks; aquariums; arcades; art galleries (to the extent that they are open without appointment); barber shops and hair salons; bowling alleys; cosmetic stores; dance studios; esthetician practices; fraternal organization facilities; furniture stores; gift shops, jewelry shops, toy stores, and boutiques (unless they provide goods exclusively through pick-up or delivery service); gyms and fitness studios (including climbing gyms); hookah bars; indoor and outdoor malls (i.e., all portions of a retail complex containing stores and restaurants in a single area); indoor party places (including jumping gyms and laser tag); medical spas, facial spas, day spas, and non-medical massage therapy services; museums; nail and tanning salons; non-tribal card rooms; skating rinks; senior activity centers; ski resorts; social and private clubs; tattoo/piercing parlors; tennis clubs; theaters; yoga studios; and youth clubs.
"Also note that (1) indoor/outdoor malls and other listed businesses are not prohibited from operating to provide food, grocery, health care, medical, pharmacy, or pet store services; and (2) food and drink establishments continue to be regulated by prior Executive Order No. 20-07 (prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink, but allowing take-out or delivery service)."
Portland Tribune reporter Dana Haynes and Oregon Capital Bureau reporter Dick Hughes contributed to this news story.
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