Multnomah County will join the rest of the state Friday, beginning the reopening process on June 19. Gov. Kate Brown approved the county’s application for phase one reopening, which means Portland restaurant and bar owners can serve customers onsite until 10 p.m., with certain health and safety precautions in place: Tables must be spaced six feet apart, and staff must wear face masks.
Brown announced an executive order in mid-March that closed all of the state’s restaurants and bars, responding to the growing COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon. The state eventually announced plans to reopen certain counties as part of a “phased reopening”: County officials would apply for “phase-one” reopening privileges, which meant they could reopen certain businesses — like restaurants and hair salons — with strict safety measures in place. Then, after 21 days, the county could apply for phase two reopening, easing even more restrictions, as long as it avoided a spike in new cases.
When the phased reopening plan was first announced, there were strict mandates in place to make sure any county that reopened could do so safely: There had to be a certain number of contact tracers hired in any given county, the county had to accommodate a certain number of COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations any given week, etc. Although the state has broken multiple records this week in terms of the number of confirmed cases, Brown announced that the county would be approved to reopen Friday.
Multnomah County originally applied to reopen earlier this month, sending in an application June 5 for a target reopening June 12. Last week, Brown announced a pause on all application approval for one week, to investigate the wave of new confirmed coronavirus cases.
• Oregon’s Coronavirus Information Page [Official]
• 278 new cases of coronavirus in Oregon on Tuesday, a record high [O]
• Coronavirus in Oregon: State sets a record, again, with 184 new cases [O]
• Portland’s Restaurants and Bars Will Not Reopen Friday [EPDX]