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Reopening plans paused in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington counties

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown grouped several counties together as regional units for reopening decisions, including Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.
Credit: KGW
Aerial view of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests continues to rise each week in Oregon, Multnomah County has paused any efforts to move further toward a Phase 2 reopening.

The county confirmed the pause, reported by The Oregonian, in a post on Twitter.

“Our goal isn't to race to Phase 2,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury in a tweet on Wednesday. “Our goal should be to normalize measures like face coverings, distance and hygiene to show we can rely on each other to take steps that keep everyone as safe as possible until there's a vaccine.”

Washington and Clackamas counties will also pause reopening plans. That’s because last month Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced she will group several counties together as regional units for reopening decisions, including the tri-county area of Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

Under Phase 1, the following restrictions are in place:

  • Restaurants and bars for sit-down service: Requirements include 6 feet of social distancing; a limit of groups to parties of 10 or fewer; food and drink consumption must end by 10 p.m.; and workers are required to wear masks. 
  • Barbers, salons and massage businesses: Requirements include social distancing; appointment-only; and a personal protective equipment and customer list. 
  • Gyms and fitness centers: Requirements include a maximum gathering limit; social distancing; and sanitation. 
  • In-person gatherings: Up to 25 people, no travel.

Multnomah County will hit the 21-day mark of Phase 1 on Friday. The 3-week threshold is a minimum requirement for a county to move to the state’s next reopening phase.

The increasing number of cases and rate of positive tests, however, have health officials concerned. They predicted that the increase may become much steeper during July - potentially reaching 900 new cases per day.

RELATED: Oregon could reach 900 new COVID-19 cases a day, officials say

RELATED: Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties linked together for future reopening phases