HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — Businesses in downtown Hillsboro are excited to soon welcome more guests and customers.
Washington County is one of five Oregon counties that had vaccinated 65% of residents ages 16 or older and submitted a vaccination equity report by Monday. The achievement means the county will be eligible to move down to the lowest level of COVID-19 restrictions on Friday.
“We are excited that we met the vaccination threshold at 65% and we are really grateful to our public health staff, our volunteers, our community based organizations and most importantly our community members who have come to the clinics and have been vaccinated,” said Marni Kuyl, Director of Health and Human Services for Washington County.
Restaurants and bars can stay open until midnight and operate at 50% indoor capacity while churches and stores can operate at 75% capacity.
For fitness centers like School of Respect, the change is a welcome one.
“I am very emotional about it, I am very excited about it. I can’t believe it — we are on pins and needles, all the local businesses, waiting for the governor to make her announcement,” said owner Molly Frazier. “I am so thrilled, I am so thrilled I can’t tell you.”
Frazier said the increase in indoor capacity will be crucial for their business.
“We are martial arts, we are fitness so increased capacity is very important to us,” said Frazier. “We’ve had way low numbers this last year. It’s been very difficult for all the fitness businesses. It’s been a big push and a lot of work to grow again.”
Benton, Deschutes, Hood River and Lincoln counties are also eligible to move to lower risk on Friday. Multnomah County reached the vaccination threshold but was unable to create an equity plan by the deadline.
“I heard Washington County took those steps and I am very grateful,” said Frazier. “We live in a great county and there are great people in charge. It’s a great day to be alive.”
As part of its equity plan, Washington County is working to close the racial and ethnic vaccination gaps by partnering with community-based organizations to hold clinics that are culturally specific. The county is also forming a COVID 19 Racial Equity Advisory Group to co-create strategies to remove vaccination barriers.
“We are excited about the progress and we need to keep making progress and the best thing you can do is get vaccinated,” said Kuyl.
For more information on where to get the vaccine in Washington County, click here.