PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Steps to reopen Oregon’s economy are expected to get underway in the coming weeks but people likely won’t see any changes for at least another month.
Governor Kate Brown intends to allow certain groups of businesses and activities to reopen in parts of eastern and southern Oregon where there are few reported cases of the coronavirus.
But the plan hinges on the number of virus cases decreasing with a simultaneous increase in testing. A second outbreak could overwhelm hospitals with a sudden influx in patients.
The first phase of Brown’s plan allows some dine-in restaurants and bars to open. Childcare will be expanded to help parents returning to work and personal services like hair and nail salons will return to business.
Non-emergency medical procedures will also likely be included in Phase One, though they will be reviewed based on geography.
All of the facilities included in this phase will face many restrictions designed by healthcare experts, such as social distancing, sanitation protocols and occupancy limits.
Schools, theaters and gyms would remain closed but could reopen in some capacity a few weeks later.
Brown expects to firm up the reopening plan in about two weeks but it’s already giving hope to thousands of businesses struggling to survive.
“Well at least it offers hope,” said the owner of a small barbershop on Northeast Burnside. “I applied for the grants, didn’t get it. Applied for unemployment money, nothing’s happened. I certainly haven’t got that $1,200 yet. To at least have a goal that we’re going to open up—maybe my landlords will be more reasonable in the next couple of months and we’ll make it.”
Chad Draizin, the owner of 50 Licks ice cream shops, knows business won’t be back to normal when reopening occurs.
“If we have to operate where it’s one party in the shop at a time and a limited menu, I think that’s better safe than sorry,” he said.