PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Monday that the state would be implementing a ban on gatherings of more than 25 people and restricting restaurants and bars to offer take-out and delivery only.
The new measures are slated to last four weeks.
The governor said no consumption of food or beverages can take place at the establishments under the restriction. Any business who violates the prohibition will be committing a misdemeanor under Oregon law in an emergency situation, Brown said.
Nearly 150 restaurant owners had signed an online petition by Monday asking Brown to order such a shutdown. The owners have suffered a loss of business but cannot qualify for a loss of business insurance until there is a government order to close.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and various retail stores will be exempt from the operational ban.
Brown also declared an abnormal market disruption for items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. By doing so, businesses and vendors will be prohibited from upselling essential consumer goods by more than 15%.
At a separate press conference earlier Monday, Brown said, “It may seem like we’re in the middle of this but I want to convey that in terms of timeline we are just at the beginning,” said Brown, who spoke to media via phone conference.
New ideas on how to implement social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19 come at the heels of Oregon’s first death from the coronavirus, along with nine new cases that were found over the weekend.
Hospitals joining forces
At the same press conference, Brown announced the formation of a new Oregon Health Authority task force that would provide support for hospitals who will see increased demand for hospital beds.
Officials said they expect 1 in 5 Oregonians who become infected to require hospitalization but there are not enough hospital beds for them. They are expecting cases in Oregon to double every 6.2 days, and at that rate, they will need an additional 1000 beds and 400 intensive care unit beds.
Officials from various hospitals pledged to work together as a unified group to share supplies and help find additional locations for hospital beds.