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Gov. Brown: Labor Day weekend a 'critical moment' in Oregon's fight against COVID-19

Brown asked Oregonians to keep their gatherings small and stay in their own communities over the holiday weekend.

PORTLAND, Ore — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday called the upcoming Labor Day weekend a “critical moment” for Oregon in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can work together to stay safe and put Oregon on the path to return more students to classrooms. Or, we could see Labor Day celebrations unknowingly sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks that could set us back for months,” Brown warned. “Until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19, this disease can spread like wildfire if we let our guard down.”

The governor’s words of caution came as she extended Oregon’s state of emergency declaration for another 60 days. It will continue until Nov. 3. The declaration legally authorizes Brown’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s health and safety guidance. Extending the declaration allows those orders to remain in effect.

“When I last extended the COVID-19 state of emergency in June, I told Oregonians that we were at a crossroads: we could work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, or we could watch infections and hospitalizations spike,” Brown said.

“Now, six months after this crisis began, we have made progress. Together, we have slowed the spread of this disease. Oregon has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country. But, as students across Oregon begin a school year far different than any other before, it is clear that, at current COVID-19 levels, it will not be safe in much of the state for children to return to in-classroom instruction for months to come.”

RELATED: Multnomah County health officials: Make sure your Labor Day plans are safe

Brown asked Oregonians to keep their gatherings small and stay in their own communities over the holiday weekend. She also reminded everyone to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

“We know this can work,” said Brown. “We have seen it work in rural and urban communities that have experienced significant outbreaks. Last week, Multnomah and Hood River counties came off the Watch List. All we need now is the will to follow this through to the end.”

RELATED: Multnomah, Hood River counties removed from Oregon's COVID-19 watch list