On Friday afternoon, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a two-week “pause” in state counties with the highest rates of COVID-19 transmission. The pause will begin on November 11, Veterans’ Day, and go until November 25, the day before Thanksgiving.
The pause comes one day after Oregon reached its highest-ever daily toll of new coronavirus cases, reporting 790 cases on Thursday, November 5. Overall, the state has reported 48,608 COVID-19 cases and 716 COVID-related deaths since March 20.
The governor’s pause urges businesses to allow as many employees as possible to work from home and tells long-term care facilities like nursing homes to forbid outside visitors. It also asks all indoor dining, bars, and recreation facilities, like museums and gyms, to reduce their maximum capacity to 50 people.
Additionally, Brown asked individuals to limit house gatherings to no more than six people, to reduce the frequency of home gatherings to no more than once every two weeks and encouraged people to limit their social circle to six regular friends rather than strangers or a wide social circle.
The pause will initially affect only the five following counties: Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah and Umatilla. However, the five following counties could be added to the pause list if their COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise: Baker, Clackamas, Linn, Union and Washington.
The pause only applies to counties with over 200 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during a two-week period, or over 60 cases during a two-week period for counties with fewer than 30,000 people, according to KGW. The restrictions do not apply to places of worship.
Brown mentioned that the Oregon Health Authority will reassess each county’s COVID-19 cases on Monday to see which ones might need inclusion to the list of paused counties.
“The two-week pause is a first step in our efforts to control the virus,” Brown said in her Friday press briefing. “I need all Oregonians to understand that additional closures may be imminent in two weeks if we don’t see reduced case counts.”
Newsweek contacted Brown’s office for comment.
On Thursday, Brown activated the Oregon National Guard to assist local law enforcement in Portland with quelling a citizen uprising following a protest. The protest was a demonstration against Republican President Donald Trump‘s efforts to stop vote-counting in other U.S. states.
Videos shared by a KOIN-TV reporter on Twitter showed downtown businesses with smashed windows. The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said it made 10 arrests and seized fireworks, spray paint and hammers from individuals involved in the uprising.
“We don’t take this decision lightly,” MCSO officials said of the National Guard activation in a Twitter thread. “Our goal is to keep our community safe. We encourage demonstrators to gather peacefully.”
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