Brown reopens Oregon, celebrates ‘brighter days ahead’

Coronavirus

COVID restrictions lifted after about 16 months

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With more than 2 million Oregonians vaccinated — more than 69% of adults in the state — Gov. Kate Brown reopened Oregon, the same day Washington reopened.

The governor dropped all statewide COVID restrictions, from masks to capacity limits inside businesses. Brown held a reopening ceremony at Providence Park, flanked by health officials, frontline doctors, civic leaders and a member of the Portland Thorns.

The governor thanked everyone involved in navigating the pandemic over the past 16 months — from the heroic healthcare workers to the frontline workers who stayed on the job during the darkest days of the pandemic. She also recognized the more than 2700 Oregonians who died from COVID-19.

But the battle against this coronavirus is not over. Variants are increasing and there are still about half of Oregon residents who aren’t vaccinated, including children under 12 who can’t yet get a shot.

Brown, though, said it’s time to move forward.

“Today we celebrate Oregon’s strength resilience and collaboration. We celebrate brighter days ahead and that today Oregon is fully 100% open,” she said.

“We took unprecedented action to accomplish an unprecedented mission – to do everything we could to protect Oregonians and save lives,” Brown said. “This is truly a historic moment for our state. However, while we enter a new chapter today, our work is far from over.”

OHA Director Patrick Allen also spoke at the event and also thanked everyone involved.

“Were we prepared? In many ways, yes. I’m profoundly grateful for the ways our hospitals, local public health departments and community partners worked together to protect Oregonians,” Allen said.

Vaccine efforts are still underway. The state wants to reach 80% vaccinated to really reduce the spread of COVID. And there will be a big push this summer with vaccines at community events.

But there are no capacity limits at festivals, weddings, funerals, sports events. The hope is that those who are not fully vaccinated and attending those events will wear a mask.

Last Friday, Brown announced she signed a “recovery-focused executive order.” The order lifts all remaining health and safety restrictions issued for the COVID-19 pandemic once the state reached the 70% vaccination mark or on Wednesday, June 30 — whichever comes first.

June 30 came first, but barely. As of late Tuesday, the statewide vaccination rate of adults stood at 69.4%.

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