PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Restaurants across 15 counties in Oregon can once again allow indoor dining at limited capacity, just in time for Mother’s Day.
Governor Kate Brown announced the return to the High Risk category on Tuesday for 15 counties, one week after announcing those same counties — including Clackamas and Multnomah — were all being placed into the Extreme Risk category.
Starting this Friday, a total of 24 counties will be at High Risk, four at Moderate Risk and eight at Lower Risk.
“This latest wave of COVID-19 seems to be cresting and today 15 counties will be moving out of our Extreme Risk category. Thank you Oregon,” Brown said on Friday. “It’s because of the smart choices you have made — wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and getting vaccinated — that COVID-19 infections have not continued to spike.”
State metrics show Oregon’s seven-day average increase for hospitalized COVID patients has dropped below 15% so the state no longer qualifies for Extreme Risk restrictions.
The counties moving out of the Extreme Risk category and into High Risk include Baker, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Wasco. Risk levels for two counties — Douglas and Malheur — are increasing from Moderate to High Risk.
In her statement, Gov. Brown also encouraged Oregonians to continue to get vaccinated, saying it is the best way to protect yourself and your family.
“The sooner we can get a significant majority of Oregonians vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to our regular lives,” she said. “Research shows the vaccines are safe and effective and can protect you against the new, more contagious variants of COVID-19. But getting vaccinated is also a very personal choice — it’s completely natural to have questions. Reach out to your health care provider, get your questions answered.”
She cited vaccinations as the reason people will be able to safely gather for Mother’s Day this year. She implored people to go hug their mothers and support local businesses this weekend.
“It’s because so many Oregonians continue to get vaccinated that we are able to lift our Extreme risk health and safety regulations across the state today. It’s because of vaccines that so many Oregonians will be able to hug mom again this year.”
Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants, according to the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association. They say many will have to place last-minute supply orders and re-arrange staffing plans. Some restaurants have told KOIN 6 that with this announcement, they will be able to rehire a few people immediately.
“So please — stay safe, support a small local business this weekend, and be sure to cheer on the Thorns, Timbers and Blazers this weekend.”