SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Monday that the Portland Trail Blazers will debut a revised set of Oregon Health Authority guidelines during playoffs at the Moda Center, allowing for reduced distancing requirements in dedicated "vaccinated sections."
According to Brown, OHA worked with her office and the Trail Blazers to revise requirements in Lower Risk counties, allowing for sections without physical distancing at large venues.
Multnomah County has reached the required 65 percent vaccination rate that Governor Brown set out as an option for moving to Lower Risk status. The county's vaccination equity plan is pending final approval. When that approval comes, Brown's office said, the Trail Blazers will be able to bring fans back with the new vaccinated sections this week.
“When fans left the Moda Center last March, it was one of the first signs this pandemic was about to change our lives in ways we hadn’t previously imagined,” said Governor Kate Brown. “Vaccines are the key to our return to normal life.
"It is a testament to the way Oregonians have united to battle this virus and get vaccinated in large numbers that, this week, the Rip City faithful can return to give our Trail Blazers the legendary home court advantage they deserve. If you haven’t gotten around to getting vaccinated yet, go do so today. Don’t miss your shot to cheer on the Blazers as they make a run at a championship."
Venues will also be able to keep physically distanced sections for people who cannot provide proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, Brown's office indicated.
Including Multnomah County, there are now five Oregon counties that have surpassed the 65 percent vaccination benchmark to move into Lower Risk status. In total, 13 counties are currently on Lower Risk status, most of them due to low case rates. In southern Oregon, only Lake County is at Lower Risk.
OHA plans to roll out updated guidance for Lower Risk counties this week that reflect the change, which is expected to cover the following:
- Vaccinated sections with no physical distancing or capacity limits will be allowed for fully vaccinated individuals ages 16 and older who provide verification of their vaccination status.
- Businesses, venues, and faith institutions may require additional health and safety protocols in vaccinated sections, such as mask wearing for vaccinated individuals.
- Because children ages 12-15 have only recently become eligible for vaccination, and children under 12 are not yet eligible, all children up to age 15 wearing a face covering will be permitted in vaccinated sections if accompanied by their fully vaccinated parent or guardian.
- Unvaccinated sections must adhere to all health and safety protocols, including the use of masks, physical distance, and capacity limits.