PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Five Oregon counties, including the state’s most populated county, will move to the Lower Risk coronavirus category today — just in time for the Trail Blazers’ home playoff games.
Counties are making the move down after they met the required vaccination rate of 65% percent of adults. The counties were also required to submit their vaccine equity plan to the state.
Multnomah and Baker counties make the jump from High Risk to Lower Risk, while Curry, Grant and Tillamook counties are moving from Moderate Risk to Lower Risk. With these most recent changes, 18 total counties will be in the Lower Risk category — which is exactly half of the state’s counties.
The Lower Risk guidance allows restaurants, gyms, churches and live entertainment to increase capacity to 50% capacity and retail stores can open up to 75%.
Earlier this week, new guidance was released for businesses in Lower Risk counties:
- Vaccinated sections with no physical distancing nor capacity limits will be allowed for fully vaccinated individuals ages 16 and up if the person can provide verification of their vaccination status.
- However, businesses, venues and faith institutions may require additional protocols in vaccinated sections, including wearing a mask.
- Children up to the age of 15 wearing a face covering will be permitted in vaccinated sections if they’re will a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated.
- Unvaccinated sections still need to observe current OHA guidances, including wearing masks, keeping physical distance and adhering to capacity limits.
As of now, Multnomah County health officials are recommending you still wear a mask for indoor settings, even if you are vaccinated.
The move to Lower Risk comes as the Blazer get ready for game three of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, in which they take on the Denver Nuggets at home.
The Blazers are opening vaccinated sections of the Moda Center for the game. With the new Lower Risk category, the stadium is allowed to increase capacity from the previous 2,000 person limit to 8,000.
The Trail Blazers parterned with the state and Oregon Health Authority to come up with this plan to help get more fans at games. Vaccinated sections are available to fully vaccinated fans 16 and up who are two weeks past the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
People will have to show proof of vaccination. Physically distanced sections will also be available for those who are not eligible for the vaccinated sections, but non-vaccinated kids will be able to sit with their vaccinated parents.
Out of an abundance of caution and ease of enforcement — regardless of vaccination status — everyone will be required to still wear a mask at this time.
As Rip City gears up for games three and four at the Moda Center, the team is hoping to allow as many fans in as possible to help cheer them onto victory.