Oregon ‘freeze’ begins; Brown’s order enforceable by law

Coronavirus

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregonians have begun settling into another lockdown as a statewide freeze went into effect Wednesday.

Governor Brown’s halt to social gatherings and restrictions on retail holds an executive order that makes the measures enforceable by law.

The executive order applies to the following:

  • Limiting at-home and social gatherings, as well as faith institutions
  • Limiting the maximum capacity for grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores
  • Restricting food and drink establishments to take-out only
  • Requiring workplaces to mandate work-from-home as much as possible
  • Closing certain businesses, including gyms, museums, zoos, and indoor recreation facilities 

On Friday, Brown announced the two-week statewide freeze as coronavirus cases are rapidly spreading and threatening hospital capacity. Counties that are hotspots, like Multnomah County, will remain in the freeze for longer than two weeks.

Oregon State Police released a statement shortly after the executive order was issued, saying “with the issuance of the latest Executive Order, Oregon Law enforcement will continue to follow an education first approach. Oregon Law Enforcement will only take enforcement action (criminal citations) as a last resort.”

They said business and workplace violations should be reported Oregon OSHA and restaurant violations to OSHA or OLCC.

Some gyms and fitness centers have decided to remain open despite the new lockdown orders. The owners of Flex Gym and Courthouse Fitness in Salem posted on Facebook, saying they would not be able to survive the shutdown and planned to operate at 50% capacity.

State regulators told KOIN 6 News they don’t give advance notice of inspections and “willful violations” carry fines starting around $8,900.

Since restrictions were first put in place in March, the state has issued more than 50 citations and at least six willful violation citations. In Salem, police have committed to issuing criminal citations as a last resort.

The freeze does not affect current protocols for personal services like barbershops, hair salons or non-medical massage therapy. It also does not change protocol for homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools, K-12 sports currently allowed, current Division 1 and professional athletics exemptions and higher education. All will continue to follow previous guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

Officials reported 935 new confirmed and presumed COVID cases on Tuesday, along with 13 new deaths.

Also on Tuesday, Governor Brown committed $55 million in financial assistance to support Oregon businesses. The money will be part of the Coronavirus Relief Funds and will be allocated to counties, with each county receiving a base of $500,000 plus a per capita allocation of the remainder of the funds. For now, they said businesses must contact their counties if they are interested in applying.

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