Gov. Brown issues COVID-19 executive order, warns that freeze is 'enforceable by law'

Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday issued an executive order solidifying her previous announcement of a statewide 'freeze,' urging people to voluntarily respect the restrictions.

Posted: Nov 17, 2020 3:55 PM
Updated: Nov 18, 2020 11:09 AM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday issued an executive order solidifying her previous announcement of a statewide coronavirus-prompted "freeze," and urging people to voluntarily respect the restrictions.

"I know Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices throughout this pandemic and that these new, temporary restrictions may seem daunting," said Governor Brown. "But, we are at a breaking point. If we don't take further action, we risk continued alarming spikes in infections and hospitalizations, and we risk the lives of our neighbors and loved ones."

Brown underlined that the freeze restrictions are "enforceable by law" on both individuals and businesses, but urged people to voluntarily follow them in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.


RELATED: Governor Brown announces two-week 'freeze' statewide in attempt to halt rapid COVID-19 spread


"I expect local law enforcement to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law," Brown said. "A large majority of Oregonians continue to do the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. However, when Oregonians don’t take COVID-19 seriously, and don’t take steps to reduce the spread of the disease, they put all of us at risk. We need all Oregonians to use common sense, make smart choices, and take seriously their individual responsibilities during a public health emergency."

Even during the height of Oregon's "Stay Home, Save Lives" order, local law enforcement agencies largely signaled their unwillingness to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, most penalties came from state agencies like the OLCC and OSHA. It remains to be seen whether the freeze will see a similar dynamic.

A statement from Brown's office said that Oregon State Police would be "working with local law enforcement" to enforce the new order, "in the same way local law enforcement officers respond to noise complaints for loud parties, for example, and issue citations."

If a violation is cited criminally, under Oregon statutes concerning emergencies, it is considered a class C misdemeanor — punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both. A prosecutor can opt to reduce the citation down to a class A violation, which has a lower fine. If a violation is pursued by the Oregon Health Authority it is a civil penalty, and the statutory maximum is $500 a day per violation.

In a joint letter issued by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and Oregon State Police, law enforcement leaders urged Oregonians to comply with the executive order:

"Oregonians have a strong tradition of unifying to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. As your fellow community members, please join us in adhering to the Governor’s Executive Order during the two-week Coronavirus freeze. As your Oregon Law Enforcement professionals, our primary objective throughout the Coronavirus pandemic has been to take an education first approach and to seek voluntary compliance with each Executive Order. We recognize the inconvenience the pandemic and subsequent restrictions have caused all of us. We also know that the risk to our most vulnerable populations is extremely high at this time and we urge everyone to follow these restrictions in order to protect them. After all, we are all in this together."


RELATED: OSHA proposes $9,400 fine against Lakeview pharmacy for alleged COVID-19 violations (September)


The freeze earned at least two letters of opposition on Tuesday. The first, a strident letter from Senate Republicans, railed against "government overreach in the name of COVID-19" that is "destroying Oregon."

"Since you welcome leaving thousands more of suffering Oregonians unemployed, Governor, you must lead by example and go without pay for the entire period that Multnomah County is to be shut down based on your arbitrary decisions," Senate Republicans wrote. "The funds that would normally go to your paycheck should be donated to families in need."

A second letter — somewhat more measured in tone — from state representatives and local officials led by Rep. Bill Post, still hit on many of the same points.

"Data shows us that COVID has been spreading at private social gatherings, and we call on our fellow citizens to be careful and social distance when gathering over the holidays, but we cannot and will not support any attempt by any police agency to violate the sacred space of any Oregonian’s home," Post's letter said. "We urge you to stop this mandate that will hinder the working people, families and their loved ones, the well-being of Oregonians, and the state of our economy and communities."

While not showing any indication that she would back down on the freeze, Governor Brown did announce on Tuesday that she would free up $55 million in financial assistance to support businesses impacted by the restrictions — allocating them to counties to distribute out.

Each county is promised a base amount of $500,000, plus a per-capita share of the remaining funds. Counties will be charged with deciding how the funds are handed out.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 174501

Reported Deaths: 2460
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34800568
Washington23412229
Marion20116299
Clackamas15311204
Lane11554144
Jackson9904127
Umatilla796883
Deschutes708272
Linn414263
Yamhill408775
Klamath345259
Polk342952
Malheur342758
Josephine305462
Douglas304365
Benton273218
Jefferson206432
Coos196831
Columbia153826
Union141124
Lincoln129820
Wasco128928
Hood River112429
Morrow107915
Clatsop8918
Crook87819
Baker85614
Curry5939
Tillamook5803
Lake4137
Grant4064
Harney3056
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam561
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3716579

Reported Deaths: 60994
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122864123628
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2945774550
San Diego2748113674
Orange2688694891
Santa Clara1169712013
Kern1078251322
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1005001643
Alameda852561477
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66927782
Stanislaus603831028
Tulare49383830
Monterey43267357
San Mateo41107560
San Francisco35993517
Santa Barbara33863446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29679311
Imperial27962719
Kings22766245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16250239
Santa Cruz15554204
Marin13860226
Yolo13559199
Shasta11677217
Butte11549196
El Dorado9719109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito598263
Lassen566924
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador362151
Humboldt358737
Lake340643
Glenn235525
Colusa219816
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4247
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned330
Medford
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Brookings
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