PORTLAND, Ore — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and state health officials on Wednesday outlined the framework for counties to enter Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan.
The second phase of reopening includes the following:
- Gathering limits will be raised to 50 people indoors, and 100 people outdoors.
- Indoor and outdoor venues, including theaters and churches, with 6 feet of physical distancing and other measures in place, can reach a COVID-19 occupancy limit of up to 250.
- Offices can begin reopening and employees can return to workplaces with physical distancing and other measures in place, though remote work is still strongly recommended whenever possible.
- Increased travel will be allowed throughout Oregon, though staying local is still recommended to prevent overloading county health systems.
- Restaurants and bars will have curfews extended to midnight.
- Pools and sports courts will be allowed to reopen under new guidance.
- Indoor and outdoor activities such as bowling, batting cages, and mini golf, will be allowed to reopen under new guidance.
- Recreational sports can resume in a limited form, under strict physical distancing guidance.
In order for a county to enter Phase 2, the following must be met:
- Timely Follow-Up: A minimum of 95% of all new cases must be contact traced within 24 hours as reported in the state’s system over the previous 7-day and 14-day time periods.
- Successful tracing: A minimum of 70% of new COVID-19 positive cases must be traced to an existing positive case over the previous 7-day and 14-day time periods.
- No increase in incident cases or positivity: There cannot be a 5% or greater increase in new cases in the county over the past 7 days; or a significant increase in the percentage of positive cases out of total tests taken in your county over the past seven days.
A county may apply to enter Phase 2 of reopening in Oregon only after it has been in Phase 1 for at least 14 days. It can enter Phase 2 after it has been in Phase 1 for at least 21 days.
Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon's state health officer, said counties in Phase 2 will likely remain in that phase for several months and likely into the fall. Phase 3 is only achievable when there is a reliable COVID-19 treatment or a vaccine.
Every county in Oregon except Multnomah County is currently in Phase 1. Multnomah County plans to apply for reopening on June 5 and hopes to enter Phase 1 on June 12. It is closely watching COVID-19 case numbers following large gatherings and protests in the Portland area.
"Bear with us we may make the difficult decision to postpone if we see activity occurring that we believe will be harmful for our community members," Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said.
Thirty-one of Oregon's 36 counties entered Phase 1 on May 15.
Gov. Brown announced on Thursday that the following counties are approved for Phase 2:
Both Gov. Brown and Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen praised Oregonians for doing their part to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
"I know our economy has taken an extraordinary blow," Gov. Brown said. "But let me be clear, this cautious approach is saving lives all across the state of Oregon."
Oregon has the fourth lowest infection rate in the nation, Allen said.
In Oregon, 1.7% of people tested last week tested positive for COVID-19. The positive testing rate in Oregon for the duration of the pandemic is 3.3%, well below the national average of 12%.
Gov. Brown said she is focused on getting Oregon students back in schools this fall. She and state health leaders are working with the Oregon Department of Education on a plan for students to safely return.
"It is one of my top priorities that we can get students across the state back into the classroom in the fall," the governor said. "I suspect it will not look like the traditional classroom setting."
Gov. Brown also announced that zoos, gardens and museums can open in a limited fashion statewide.