SALEM, Ore. — Ten Oregon counties will move down from the state's highest coronavirus restrictions on Friday, Governor Kate Brown's Office says. Klamath County is among the group moved down to "High Risk" from "Extreme."
"Thanks to Oregonians who have stepped up and made smart choices, we have made incredible progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives in Oregon," said Governor Brown. "This week we will see 10 counties move out of Extreme Risk, including the Portland tri-county area, for the first time since November. This is welcome news, as we'll start to see more businesses open up and Oregonians being able to get out a bit more."
Effective February 12 through February 25, there will be 14 counties in the Extreme Risk level, 11 at High Risk, two at Moderate Risk, and nine at Lower Risk. A complete list of counties and their associated risk levels is available here.
In southern Oregon, Jackson and Josephine counties will remain at Extreme. Klamath County was moved down to High, while Lake County moved from Lower to Moderate. Curry County remains at Lower Risk.
For Klamath County, the move down to High Risk is a fairly significant change for many businesses — allowing restaurants and bars to reopen indoor service at limited capacity, and the same for gyms and fitness establishments that were confined to newly-updated restrictions based on square footage.
Takeout is still "highly recommended" for restaurants in a High Risk County, but indoor dining is allowed at a maximum of 25 percent maximum occupancy or 50 people — whichever is smaller. Both indoor and outdoor seating are limited to six people per party and per table, with a limit of two households in a party. Restaurants and bars must close at 11 p.m.
For gyms and fitness centers, High Risk counties also allow for a maximum of 25 percent occupancy or 50 people, whichever is smaller. The same applies to theaters.
"It’s also incredibly important that we continue to remain vigilant and protect our neighbors and loved ones as we face virulent new strains of COVID-19," Brown continued. "This means continuing to wear masks, keep our physical distance, and avoid indoor gatherings. If we want to keep businesses open, reopen schools for in-person instruction, and stay safe, we must keep up our guard. Until vaccines are more widely available, case counts could go back up if we don't keep following safety measures."
This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.