ONTARIO — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has ordered that indoor gatherings be no larger than 10 people and beginning Wednesday, people will be required to wear face coverings outdoors if they cannot maintain at least 6-feet of social distance.
Brown made the latest announcement regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Oregon at a news conference Monday with two of her medical advisers.
“The disease is spreading rapidly across Oregon,” Brown said, adding that more new cases had been on the rise reported in the last week than during the whole month of May.
“We can’t let the virus get the best of us,” she said. “We are at risk of letting the virus spiral out of control”
The limit of 10 people for gatherings will not affect operations of businesses and churches, Brown said, wearing masks outdoors is required when people are not from the same family.
Enforcement will require the help of businesses. For those businesses which are not following the rules there will be serious consequences, Brown says, such as citations, fines or closing down businesses when they are not protecting employees and customers.
The proof will be in the numbers, and if the number of virus infections continue to rise, Brown says she will take more restrictive actions.
“The virus is much tougher to beat than any of us would ever wish,” she continued.
If the virus is not slowed, she will have to impose more restrictions, Brown said.
Dr. Paul Allen, director of the Oregon Health authority, said small gatherings are a major cause of the current increase.
“We can’t allow COVID-19 to get out of control,” Allen said.
Dean Sidelinger, state epidemiologist, said gatherings should be moved outdoors as much as possible and restaurants should serve people outdoors when possible.
As far as testing, Allen said that currently 30,000 to 35,000 people are being tested per week and that could continue as long as supplies last.
As far as school openings, Brown said that while schools were closed last spring statewide, the reopenings will be different from school district, depending on their situations and the spread of the virus in each area.
The top priority will be to make sure that every one is safe, Brown said.