PORTLAND, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown called a press briefing on Wednesday morning, outlining the specifics of Oregon's plans for Phase II of loosening coronavirus restrictions.
All of the southern Oregon counties — Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, and Lake — have submitted plans to enter Phase II this week, and all of them are listed as "under review" by the Governor's office and the Oregon Health Authority. Most have requested to enter the new phase on Friday.
“I want to say thank you to each and every Oregonian who has made sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our communities,” said Governor Brown. “Your leadership –– you choosing to be both kind and smart –– is why we have been able to start the reopening process.”
According to Brown, Phase II will include the following components:
- Extending possible open hours for bars and restaurants from a 10 p.m. curfew to midnight (Guidance for food service)
- Movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades allowed to reopen (Guidance for entertainment facilities)
- Some recreational sports can resume
- Pools reopening under strict distancing and sanitation requirements (Guidance for pools and sports facilities)
- Church, social, and civic gatherings can be larger — likely up to 50 indoors, 100 outdoors for most gatherings, up to 250 people with a large enough space of 35 square feet per person. This aspect of Phase II is still being developed.
- Expanded in-office work for businesses that have previously gone remote is optional.
Effective June 3, zoos, museums, and outdoor gardens can reopen for small parties of people with enforced physical distancing. Professional and collegiate sports teams will also be able to return to training at their facilities with distancing and sanitation measures.
Up until Wednesday, the details of Phase II still had not been outlined by state officials, beyond still-evolving draft plans. The stated goals were to expand acceptable gathering sizes, allow a return to some in-office work, and limited visits to long-term care facilities.
Counties have been required to submit for eligibility to enter Phase II after 21 days under Phase I — affirming that they have continued to meet the requirements for Phase I, have sufficient contact tracers to quickly investigate new cases, and have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders.
“Any reopening comes with risk. That’s just a fact of life right now," Brown said. "So we need to reduce the risk that comes with reopening. So, fellow Oregonians, you have another chance to shine. A chance to show that you are looking out for your friends, family, and neighbors.”
At the press conference, Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen said that the state would expand COVID-19 testing recommendations to include testing of asymptomatic people from historically underserved communities.
OHA public health officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger reinforced that Phase II will likely last through the summer and into fall for all of Oregon, until a vaccine or widely-available treatment has been developed.