Today, Nov. 25, Gov. Kate Brown announced a new safety framework for all 36 Oregon counties once the “two-week freeze” ends on Dec. 2. The framework will utilize the latest science and data to classify counties into four different risk categories: “Lower,” “Moderate,” “High,” and “Extreme.”
21 counties are currently categorized as at “extreme” risk, six are “high,” four are “moderate” and five are “lower.” You can find your county’s status here.
Each of the four categories has certain guidance for various activities. The below disease metric chart will be used to identify the risk level for the county. The announcement today likely means that Oregon’s more populous counties will be experiencing business and social restrictions for weeks to come.
However, bars and restaurants would be allowed to have a maximum of 50 customers dining outdoors, with tables limited to parties of six. Service would have to stop at 11 p.m. This is a departure from the guidelines in the “two-week freeze,” which limits bars and restaurants to take-out only.
Retail capacity limitations are also changing. Under the “two-week freeze” requirements, all retail is limited to 75% capacity. Now, those counties classified as at “extreme” or “high” risk will be curtailed to 50%.
On Monday, Nov. 30, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will reexamine county data to determine which counties qualify for each risk level on Dec. 3, following the end of the “two-week freeze.” In each subsequent two-week period, the OHA will examine and publish county data weekly, but county risk levels will not change until the end of the second week. In the first week, counties will be given Warning Week data to prepare for potential risk level changes. In the second week, county risk levels will be updated based on that week’s data. More detailed information will be provided to Salem Chamber members in the days to come.
The data show that COVID-19 is primarily spread through private social gatherings, so in order for businesses to reopen, Oregonians must stay home, and wear masks and keep six feet of distance between others when in public.