PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday afternoon that she will sign an executive order banning all statewide events of more than 25 people and limiting restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery only.
The governor said grocery stores, pharmacies and stores are exempt. The order begins Tuesday and is in place for four weeks.
"The actions we take today will save lives," Brown said.
The governor said businesses that don't follow her executive order could be subject to misdemeanor criminal charges. But she urged businesses to follow her order so police resources don't have to be used to enforce this order.
The governor also advised other businesses to evaluate their operating functions. "Can your business do the equivalent of restaurant take out? If you can't, I strongly urge you to close your doors temporarily," Brown said.
Brown also said that the four-week closure does not yet include schools. The governor said another announcement about schools is likely to come over the next few days.
The governor first mentioned the possibility of a curfew during a conversation with reporters on Sunday night.
Earlier Monday, Brown said she spoke about the topic Sunday night with elected officials across the state. "One of the things I learned, particularly in rural communities, is that restaurants are key providers of meals for the elderly and vulnerable, and I'm taking those concerns seriously," Brown said.
During Monday's afternoon press conference, though, Brown asked all Oregonians to come together to help slow the spread of the virus.
"Isolation from our friends and neighbors is the only way to flatten the curve of transmission and get us to the other side," she said. "These are incredibly difficult decisions for me. Working together, we are stronger together, even if it's in ways we never thought possible."
The governor said she participated in a call with the White House on Monday morning and received an update on testing capacity. She said she was told private labs will have the capacity to do 1 million tests this week, 2 million tests next week and 5 million the week after that.
"That's a good thing," Brown said.
Earlier Monday, the governor said it's important for residents of the state to recognize that this is only the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Oregon. She said there is no vaccine or medicine to treat COVID-19 at this time, which makes measures like social distancing that much more important.
"This is just the beginning and we have to support each other. A lot of the specific policies I have announced and will soon announce are gravely important," Brown said.
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The governor said people who are young and healthy still have a responsibility to care for others through social distancing, so they don't spread it to vulnerable members of the population.
"You may feel like it's not touching your life yet, but it will soon. This is a matter of life and death for others," she said.
The governor also advised people who have a fever and cough to self isolate and socially distance themselves from others.