Witt: 'It's time to ... get people back to work'
Oregon's Stay at Home, Save Lives order is working, with an estimated 70,000 Oregonians being spared from contracting the novel coronavirus. This effort has been successful because of the sacrifices of Oregonians and our business community. Under our state's carefully thought-out, deliberate, risk-based approach, it's time to start opening up Oregon, get our businesses operating and get people back to work.
We are taking a gradual approach to reopening Oregon in order to prevent a surge of infections that could overwhelm our hospital system. Counties where Covid-19 infections have dropped for two weeks, or have less than five coronavirus hospitalizations, have enough personal protective equipment for health care workers and adequate hospital capacity to care for Covid-19 cases are being allowed to start the Phase One reopening. The majority of counties qualified for Phase One, and most, including Columbia County applied to the Oregon Health Authority to demonstrate their readiness. Approval will facilitate the reopening of restaurants, bars, personal service salons and malls, with some safety modifications.
For businesses such as restaurants, bars and brewpubs, the business must determine and enforce maximum occupancy to maintain the 6-foot spacing of physical distancing. Servers will need to wear facial coverings, customer self-service at buffets, salad bars and beverage dispensers is prohibited, and thorough cleaning and sanitizing between customer groups will be required. On-site consumption of food and beverages, including alcohol must end by 10 p.m.
Personal care services such as barbers, beauty salons, non-medical massage therapists and tattoo artists will be by appointment only, and the provider will need to record the client information, and date and time of appointment in case it is needed for contact tracing. This data may be destroyed after 60 days. Cleaning, sanitizing, face coverings as appropriate, and clean capes and smocks will be needed for each client.
Malls and shopping centers must post appropriate Covid-19 signage, establish and enforce maximum occupancy levels, and configure common spaces such as food courts to meet the physical distancing criteria.
Additionally, there are general guidelines for Phase One reopening:
• Stay home if you are sick or at risk of severe complications due to age or underlying medical condition.
• If you become symptomatic (cough, fever, breathing difficulties) self-isolate and seek medical attention if necessary.
• Practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer.
• Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet between you and people who do not live with you.
• Use face coverings in public.
• Stay close to home. Avoid overnight trips and minimize non-essential travel, including recreational day trips to destinations outside the community where you live. Travel only the distance required to obtain essential services.
These standards are not meant to be punitive, or infringe on anyone's rights, they are designed to protect the health and safety of Oregonians. While Oregon has one of the lower rates of infections and coronavirus-related fatalities, there is still no vaccine or treatment for this virus, so it's important to remember the risks. We must all do our best to protect ourselves and one another. If we all follow these recommendations, we will help save the lives of our colleagues, neighbors, friends and family members.
Representative Brad Witt, House District 31
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