Oregon’s new reality: What’s not open, what’s essential


Gov. Kate Brown issued new 'Stay at Home' orders

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the space of 11 days, Oregon came to a halt — as did many other states reacting to the coronavirus pandemic that has so far taken the lives of more than 15,000 worldwide.

On March 12, Governor Kate Brown closed schools through the end of the month and limited gatherings to no more than 250 people. On March 23, Brown issued a strict “stay at home” order that carries misdemeanor penalties for those who ignore the new rules.

Brown’s stricter ‘Stay at home’ order carries misdemeanor penalty

The governor’s order prohibits these businesses from operating at this time:

  • Amusement parks, aquariums, arcades, art galleries (without appointment), barber shops and hair salons, bowling alleys, cosmetic stores, dance studios, esthetician practices, fraternal organizations facilities, furniture stores, gyms and fitness studios (including climbing gyms), hookah bars, indoor and outdoor malls (i.e., all portions of a retail complex containg stores and restaurants in a single area), indoor party places (including jumping gyms and laser tag), jewelry shop and boutiques (unless it’s exclusively pick-up or delivery), medical spas, facial spas, day spas and non-medical massage therapy, museums, nail and tanning salons, non-tribal card rooms, skating rinks, senior activity centers, ski resorts, social and private clubs, tattoo/piercing parlors, tennis clubs, theaters, yoga studios, youth clubs.

These are all in addition to her earlier executive order closing restaurants, bars, taverns, brewpubs, coffee shops, cafes and donut shops for any in-site consumption; however, pick-up and delivery are still allowed.

Restaurants now relying on take-out, delivery

All businesses and non-profits in Oregon must facilitate telework and work-at-home as much as possible.

When those options aren’t available, the business must designate an employee to establish, implement and enforce social distancing policies.

Oregon not doing ‘essential’

Gov. Brown’s executive order does not specifically list what businesses or industries are essential. Her chief of staff told KOIN 6 News other states that listed “essential” businesses added to the confusion.

Her executive order is not a one-size-fits-all model.

“This distinction from closing all businesses except for those categorized as essential as mandated in other states, aims to minimize unintended consequences and add clarity for businesses who can adjust their business models to accommodate vital social distancing measures,” Brown said in her executive order.

A business won’t necessarily be shut down if — if — the company already has social distancing in its workflow, the governor’s office said.

Blood donor centers are open

Blood drives are also considered essential services and the Red Cross is still operating. The Red Cross will keep having blood drives during this time.

The CDC encourages donating blood if you’re healthy. Currently, there is a severe blood shortage.

What the Department of Homeland Security says

The Department of Homeland Security identified critical infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic through its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

That list from CISA includes:

  • Health care, public health
  • Law enforcement and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Energy
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications, information technology and news media
  • Community-based government operations and essential functions
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical supply chains/safety
  • Defense industrial base
  • Child care
  • Suppliers/distribution centers/service providers
  • Businesses/operations employing critical infrastructure workers needed to support or facilitate the work of its critical infrastructure workers
  • Insurance industry
  • Critical labor union function positions
  • Workers/volunteers in the religious or private sector who provide food shelter and life necessities for the needy or economically needy or those with disabilities

KOIN 6 News will update this story.

KOIN Complete Coverage: Coronavirus Pandemic

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