SALEM, Ore. — Though Oregon's two-week "freeze" is set to expire Wednesday, the vast majority of counties will remain on the tightest restrictions mandated by the state's new coronavirus risk level system, state officials indicate.
Governor Kate Brown's office reached out to county commissioners on Tuesday with the determination of which risk levels each county will be under when the freeze ends. Of Oregon's 36 counties, 25 fall under the highest, "Extreme Risk" level. Five counties are considered High Risk, two counties at Moderate Risk, and four counties at Low Risk.
Most of southern Oregon falls under the Extreme Risk classification; including Jackson, Josephine, Douglas, Klamath and Lake counties. Curry and Coos counties are at High Risk.
In many sectors, Extreme Risk restrictions look very similar to those under the freeze:
- Social and at-home gatherings with people from outside your household will be limited to a maximum of six people, with a recommended limit of two households.
- Restaurants, bars, and other eating and drinking establishments will be limited to a maximum of 50 people for outdoor dining only, with only six people per table. Take-out is strongly encouraged.
- Indoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment establishments, including gyms, will remain closed, however, outdoor recreation, fitness, and entertainment activities, including outdoor gym activities, will be allowed, with a maximum limit of 50 people outdoors.
- Retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and indoor and outdoor shopping centers and malls will be limited to a maximum of 50% of capacity, with curbside pick-up encouraged.
- Faith institutions, funeral homes, mortuaries, and cemeteries will be limited to a maximum of 25% of capacity or 100 people indoors (whichever is smaller), or 150 people outdoors.
- Office workplaces will be required to utilize remote work to the maximum extent possible, with public-facing offices closed to the public.
- Personal services businesses will be allowed to continue to operate with health and safety measures in place.
- Long-term care facilities can allow limited outdoor visitation, following established health and safety protocols.
A document provided by Brown's office broadly outlines what measures will be in place at each risk level, with the caveat that some aspects may change by Wednesday.
"Counties that are facing extreme risk of virus spread will need to continue with strict health and safety measures, similar to the Two-Week Freeze," said Governor Brown. "I want to stress that there is no zero-risk category. Until COVID-19 vaccines are widely available and we have high participation, health and safety precautions will remain in place so that schools, businesses, and communities can reopen—and stay open. I am asking all Oregonians to take these measures seriously. The best way to protect those closest to you is by maintaining physical distance from others, avoiding gatherings, wearing a face covering, staying home when sick, and keeping up with good hand hygiene."
COVID-19 rates will be evaluated each week, Brown's office said, though changes to risk levels will only occur every other week. Those changes will be announced on Tuesday and take effect on Friday. The next chance for risk levels to change will be on December 18.
For a closer look at county-by-county risk levels effective Wednesday, see the document here.