PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Along with placing more counties on a coronavirus watch list, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced there will be heightened enforcement of COVID-19 safety measures for bars, restaurants and other businesses over the 4th of July weekend.
The announcement comes as confirmed coronavirus cases have spiked across the state. On Thursday, Oregon saw its highest number of reported cases since the pandemic began. The 375 cases raised the overall total in Oregon to 9,294, with the death of a 73-year-old Klamath County woman bringing the death total to 209.
Brown said she is stepping up statewide enforcement for face coverings, social distancing, and occupancy standards for businesses. Oregon Occupational Safety and Health and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will both spearhead the effort to ensure all businesses are adhering to the required safety protocols.
OLCC staff and OSHA field officers will be conducting spot checks and inspections throughout the state during the holiday weekend.
“I am asking Oregonians this holiday weekend to take urgent steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, avoiding large gatherings, and physically distancing,” said Governor Kate Brown. “And state enforcement agencies will be out in force to ensure businesses are in compliance. Those businesses not complying with gathering size limits, face covering requirements, physical distancing rules, and other standards face stiff penalties.”
Businesses who refuse to comply with the various safety measures could potentially face fines, citations or even closures.
Furthermore, she added eight more counties to the COVID-19 watch list, saying the spread has risen to alarming levels. Those counties are Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, and Wasco.
Counties on the watch list will be monitored — if numbers do not go down quickly, more restrictive measures will be enacted.
“We stand at a crossroads this weekend,” Brown said. “We can either stop the spread of COVID-19, or infections and hospitalizations will rise across Oregon and I will reinstate restrictive measures in impacted counties and business sectors.”