PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown intends to announce which counties have been cleared to enter "Phase One" of the state's plan for loosening coronavirus restrictions at a press teleconference on Thursday, according to a statement.
The announcement will be streamed live for the public to view when it begins at roughly 10 a.m.
As of Wednesday, all but three of Oregon's 36 counties had plans under review for reopening on May 15. Those plans were originally submitted to the Governor's office, which screened the applications for basic compliance before they were passed on to the Oregon Health Authority for a more thorough review.
This week NewsWatch 12 spoke with the Governor's chief of staff, Nik Blosser, about the application process. Blosser said that he was confident all of the county applications would be reviewed and the decisions announced together this week.
There has not yet been any indication that any applications have been rejected for entering Phase One.
Regardless of those county-by-county decisions, the Governor's office clarified earlier this week that nearly all retail stores throughout the state can reopen on May 15, with physical distancing and sanitation caveats. The only exception is for retail stores within shopping malls, which have to receive the countywide greenlight first.
Also beginning Friday, emergency child care will be expanded with new safety guidelines, reportedly giving more flexibility to families that are returning to work in order to access child care options.
"Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Oregon child care providers have continued to operate by applying with the Early Learning Division to provide emergency child care –– with priority given to the families of first responders, emergency workers, health care professionals, and other essential personnel working outside the home," Brown's office said. "The new guidance also applies to other early learning programs, such as respite care and kindergarten transition."
Oregon is still continually updating sector-specific guidance as businesses shift to Phase One, which is posted to the state website.
"The Governor’s Office continues to work with the Oregon Health Authority to update health and safety guidance for the reopening process," Brown's office said. "Members of the public with questions about the reopening process are encouraged to visit coronavirus.oregon.gov. A new version of the website will launch tomorrow, May 14, to help Oregonians navigate the guidance that applies at the county level and statewide."