Oregon Gov. Kate Brown attends a news conference Tuesday in Portland, Oregon. (Cathy Cheney/Pool Photo via AP)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown attends a news conference Tuesday in Portland, Oregon. (Cathy Cheney/Pool Photo via AP)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announces 14-day statewide ‘freeze’

Exemptions include hair salons, homeless sheltering, childcare and schools that are currently open.

By Sara Cline / The Associated Press/Report for America

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Friday announced a statewide two-week “freeze” which will limit restaurants and bars to take-out only and close gyms, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities during that period.

The freeze will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 2 and aims to limit group activities and slow the spread of COVID-19. The state is experiencing a spike in coronavirus infections and has reached record high positivity rates so far in November.

“If we do not act immediately, we will soon reach a breaking point,” Brown said in a video posted on social media Thursday.

She has long warned about implementing tighter restrictions if Oregon’s cases did not decrease. The latest set of restrictions are the most stringent since the start of the pandemic.

As part of the freeze, grocery stores, pharmacies and retail stores are limited to a maximum capacity of 75%. Faith-based organizations will also have their capacity reduced to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

However, other facilities — gyms and fitness centers, museums, pools, sports courts, movie theaters, zoos, gardens, aquariums and venues — will have to close their doors completely.

Restaurants and bars, which had a capacity limit of 50-100 people depending on the county and curfew of 10 p.m., will now be limited to take-out only.

All businesses will be required to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home “to the greatest extent possible,” Brown said.

Lastly, both indoor and outdoor social get-togethers are limited to six people, total, from no more than two households. In the past, Brown has described social get-together measures as “self-enforced.”

“These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care,” the governor’s office said Friday.

The freeze does not apply to barber shops, hair salons, congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, and K-12 schools that are currently open.

Brown and the governors of California and Washington issued travel advisories Friday urging residents to avoid non-essential out-of-state travel and asking people to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving from another state or country.

“COVID-19 does not stop at state lines,” Brown said. “As hospitals across the West are stretched to capacity, we must take steps to ensure travelers are not bringing this disease home with them.”

Coronavirus cases in Oregon have been increasing since mid-September and began to surge at an “alarming rate” in November.

On Thursday, Oregon recorded 1,122 new confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19, the first time it had surpassed 1,000 cases. The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic is nearly 54,000. The death toll is 746.

The percent of people testing positive for the virus was nearly 12% statewide, more than double what it was in the summer, according to Oregon Health Authority data.

For the past two weeks, officials have expressed concerns about nearing hospital capacity in the state.

“There are limitations to what Oregon’s healthcare system can handle,” Dana Hargunani, the health authority’s chief medical officer, said Tuesday.

The Oregon Health Authority reported a record of 303 coronavirus patients in hospitals Friday — an increase of 81% since the end of October.

Several major hospitals in Portland have begun curtailing elective surgeries this week amid the surge.

Cline is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Washington state.
Democrats in Washington state choose Conrad as new leader

The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Port of Coupeville to make offer on Oak Harbor airport

The Port of Coupeville continues to pursue ownership of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport near Oak Harbor.

FILE - In this Monday, March 23, 2020, file photo, a worker walks near a mural of a Boeing 777 airplane at the company's manufacturing facility in Everett, Wash., north of Seattle. Beginning in 2024, some 737 planes will be built in Everett, the company announced to workers on Monday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
With 747 out, Boeing to open new 737 Max line at Everett’s Paine Field

Since the last 747 rolled out of the factory, speculation has been rife that Boeing might move some 737 Max production to Everett.

Photo by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times
Former VA-115 member Jack Keegan speaks at a presentation on base commemorating the last crew from NAS Whidbey Island shot down during the Vietnam War.
Whidbey Island air base honors crew lost in Vietnam War

NAS Whidbey Island will host several upcoming events commemorating the end of the Vietnam War.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle could broaden anti-discrimination law to add caste

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant wants to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination policy.

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
US board says Boeing Max likely hit a bird before 2019 crash

U.S. accident investigators disagree with Ethiopian authorities over the cause of a 2019 Boeing 737 Max crash.

CORRECTS DAY TO TUESDAY IN SECOND REFERENCE - This surveillance video image released by the Yakima Police Department shows a suspect sought in a shooting at a convenience store in Yakima, Wash., early on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. At least three people were killed in a random shooting Tuesday, in Yakima, and police are still searching for the suspect. (Yakima Police Department via AP).
Suspect in Yakima triple-killing shot, killed self

A 21-year-old man wanted in the random killing of three people in Yakima early Tuesday shot and killed himself.

Kevin Flynn, right, a meat-cutter with the Marysville Albertsons, hands a leaflet to a shopper during an informational campaign on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Flynn was one of about a dozen grocery store workers handing out leaflets to shoppers about the proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
WA Supreme Court clears way for Albertsons’ $4 billion dividend

The case was the final obstacle to the dividend after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected similar efforts.

Photo
Beard photo in Whidbey Island exhibit hits a snarl

A photography show has come under scrutiny due to an image of a man dressed as a female pirate.

This combination of 2017-2022 photos shows the logos of Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat on mobile devices. On Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, Seattle Public Schools filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, suing the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, seeking to hold them accountable for the mental health crisis among youth. (AP Photo)
Schools’ lawsuits over social media harm face tough legal road

The Seattle and Kent school districts’ lawsuits claim the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat target their products at children.

FILE - A Boeing 737 Max jet prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle, Sept. 30, 2020. Boeing said Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, that it took more than 200 net orders for passenger airplanes in December and finished 2022 with its best year since 2018, which was before two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max jet and a pandemic that choked off demand for new planes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Boeing orders rise to 4-year high but still trail Airbus

Boeing took more than 200 net orders for passenger airplanes in December to complete its best year since 2018, but failed again to catch up with Airbus.

FILE - Starbucks employees and supporters react as votes are read during a viewing of their union election on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. One year after a Starbucks in Buffalo became the first to unionize in decades - touching off a wave of labor actions at other big companies like Amazon and Chipotle - the rush to organize Starbucks stores has slowed. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)
As Starbucks unionizing slows, some strike, others skeptical

Labor organizers hope this will be the year that Starbucks’ U.S. workers finally negotiate a union contract. But bargaining is at a standstill and thousands of employees are still unconvinced of the union’s value.