Mayor on WashCo reopening: ‘We can’t just rush in’

Washington County

Washington County will enter Phase 1 reopening on Monday, June 1

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington County is just a few days away from entering Phase 1 of Oregon’s reopening plan but city and county leaders want people to remember they have a responsibility in ensuring a smooth lift-off.

On Thursday, Governor Kate Brown approved Washington County to enter Phase 1 starting Monday, June 1. Most businesses, including gyms, barbershops and hair salons will be able to open with restrictions. Restaurants can resume dine-in service until 10 p.m. with limited capacity.

“This is just Phase 1 and so it doesn’t mean the recovery is ocurring overnight or in a week,” said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway. “This will be a slow process to kind of move out of it and to move forward.”

Callaway said many businesses were desperately waiting on federal stimulus money in the weeks following the state-mandated clsoures. The city gave $1 million in grants to many businesses as a stopgap.

“We have just an incredibly resilient business community,” said Callaway.

When asked what his reaction was to learning Washington County had been approved for Phase 1, Callaway said his initial relief melted into concern about the logistics. He wants everyone to play their part in guiding the county on a steady path to recovery.

“We can’t be reckless or complacent, we can’t just rush in — we still need to be very cautious and careful as we venture out,” Callaway said.

Washington County is reopening but its neighbor — Multnomah County — is still closed, though it plans to apply for Phase 1 next week. But Callaway wasn’t overly concerned about people in Multnomah County flocking to his county starting Monday.

It’s important to remember the pandemic isn’t over yet, even as our communities slowly return to a semblance of normalcy. Callaway reminded the community to remember to wear face coverings in public.

“It’s not a political statement — what it is is a caring statement; that I care about your health, I care about my health and so in all aspects we’re in this together,” he said.

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