Categories
Business

'The dreaded winter surge is here': Oregon governor limits social gatherings to six people, closes gyms and dine-in eating in a 'two-week freeze' to slow COVID-19 spread

  • Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a statewide "two-week freeze" on Friday to slow the spread of COVID-19, which will be in place from November 18 to at least December 2.
  • Under the policy, which Brown said is similar to the state's "stay home" order from March, social gatherings are limited to a maximum of six people from two households.
  • Gyms, event venues, and other large public facilities must close, grocery stores and malls will be limited to 75% capacity, and only take-out dining will be allowed.
  • Brown said "hotspot" counties will likely need to stay in the freeze longer as Oregon reported more than 1,000 new cases and a total of 54,000 cases, a 13% spike over the past week, amid surging cases nationwide.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that the state will be entering a "two-week freeze" from November 18 until at least December 2 in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 amid another wave of new cases.

"The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians. This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarm," Brown said in a press release.

On Friday, Oregon reported 1,058 new cases, bringing its total to 54,937 — a 13% spike over the past week — according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project. A record 356 people are currently hospitalized, bringing the total ever hospitalized to 3,628.

"If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives. I know this is hard, and we are weary. But, we are trying to stop this ferocious virus from quickly spreading far and wide. And in Oregon, we actually can do this," she added.

Brown said some "hotspot" counties will likely need to extend measures adopted under the freeze for longer than two weeks — including Multnomah County, where Portland is located, which Brown said will freeze for for weeks.

Under the policy:

  • Social gatherings will be limited to a maximum of "six people, total, from no more than two households" (though religious gatherings can convene 25 people indoors or 50 outdoors).
  • Gyms and fitness centers, museums, zoos, gardens, aquariums, event venues, and both indoor and outdoor pools and entertainment activities will be required to close entirely.
  • Grocery stories, pharmacies, retail stores, and malls will be limited to 75% capacity and encouraged to promote curbside pickups.
  • Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to serve food and drink via takeout or delivery orders.
  • All businesses will be required to mandate work-from-home policies "to the greatest extent possible."
  • Long-term care facilities will be limited to only outdoor, not indoor, visits.
  • Existing policies governing personal services businesses, homeless shelters, outdoor recreational activities, childcare and K-12 schools, and college and professional sports will remain in place.

Brown said in prepared remarks that the freeze, which came just a week after she announced a "two-week pause," is similar to the "stay home, save lives" order Oregon issued in late March when a majority of US states ordered lockdowns. However, she added, there were some differences, including letting personal services businesses stay open because they had seen "very little spread," as well as encouraging outdoor activities and supporting local restaurants.

"The dreaded winter surge is here," Brown said, adding that Oregon won't be able to rely on other states for additional healthcare workers or hospital beds because cases are spiking nationwide, saying "our hospitals are headed for very dark days ahead."

Brown urged everyone to wear masks because the evidence shows they work, and detailed how her family plans to observe Thanksgiving under the freeze rules, which she acknowledged "probably doesn't look like the Thanksgiving many of us were planning for."

Over the past week, coronavirus cases have increased in all 50 states as winter approaches and cold weather forces Americans indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread. As a result, more than 140,000 people could die of the coronavirus in the US between now and February, according to the latest model from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics.

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic? Please email [email protected] and tell us your story.

Get the latest coronavirus business & economic impact analysis from Business Insider Intelligence on how COVID-19 is affecting industries.

Source: Read Full Article