SALEM, Ore. — On Thursday, county leaders in southern Oregon began finding out if they'd been approved to enter Phase II of the state's plan to gradually loosen coronavirus restrictions.
According to a list from the Governor's office, Jackson, Curry, Klamath, Lake and Douglas counties were approved to enter Phase II beginning on Friday, June 5.
Josephine County was originally approved to enter Phase II on Saturday, June 6 — the date requested by county officials in their application to the Governor's office — but has since been approved to move the date up to June 5 in conjunction with neighboring counties.
In all, 26 of Oregon's 36 counties were approved to begin the new phase on either Friday, Saturday, or Monday. Three counties applied for the next step but remain under review, and seven counties have not yet applied — including Multnomah, which has not yet entered Phase I due to the severity of the outbreak.
“Today, most of us live in communities where people are venturing out a bit. We do so cautiously, looking out for friends, family and neighbors,” said Governor Brown. “I want to say thank you to each and every Oregonian who has made tremendous sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our communities.”
“Any reopening comes with risk. That’s just a fact of life right now. We need to reduce the risk that comes with reopening," Brown continued. "So, fellow Oregonians, you have further opportunity to show that you are looking out for your friends, family and neighbors.”
It wasn't until Wednesday morning that Governor Brown and state public health officials outlined what Phase II would entail for businesses and local governments.
Under those guidelines, Phase II allows bars and restaurants to extend their hours to midnight; allows movie theaters, bowling alleys, and arcades to reopen; allows some recreational sports to resume; allows pools to reopen under strict health requirements; and increases the size of both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
EDIT: This story has been updated to reflect that Josephine County will now enter Phase II on Friday, June 5.