Governor Kate Brown Ordering Two Week Shutdown After Rise in COVID-19 Cases


Sgt. 1st Class April Davis

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Tabitha Fitzgerald, Writer

In response to a rise in Oregon COVID-19 cases, Governor Kate Brown has ordered a two-week “freeze” in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The new shutdown comes in response to Oregon setting record high numbers for both the most hospitalizations and single-day infections of COVID-19 in Oregon so far. Due to the holidays, more people than ever have started gathering in person once more. With only 15 intensive care beds left, and upwards of 900 new infections per day, tensions are high as those seriously ill with COVID-19 worry about being able to find proper care.

Governor Kate Brown’s new restrictions state that dining in restaurants will be prohibited and restaurants will be limited to takeout or delivery only. Brown also ordered gyms, museums, The Oregon Zoo, aquariums, and other venues temporarily closed for the next two weeks. Faith groups and churches have been limited to gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 when outdoors. Additionally, indoor visits to long-term care facilities will no longer be allowed for the current time. However, barber shops, hair salons, homeless shelters, and outdoor recreational activities, including Pac-12 college football games, will remain open and will not face any new restrictions. The new limitations also call for businesses and stores to remain open, provided that all customers wear masks and stores have no more than 75% occupancy at any given time.

Included in the two-week “freeze” ordered by Kate Brown, families will be limited to having no more than six people in one house at any given time, including on Thanksgiving. Governor Kate Brown has also encouraged anyone who sees their neighbor violating the new restrictions to call the police. On the subject of reporting neighbors to police, Governor Kate Brown stated, “This is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake. What do neighbors do? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s a violation of a noise ordinance.” Those found violating the new restrictions could face 30 days in jail, fines of up to $1,250, or both.

The new restrictions have faced considerable criticism, with those who disagree with the order labeling it unconstitutional. Those who have criticized the new regulations include Clackamas County Chair-Elect Tootie Brown and the Marion County Sheriffs’ Office. Tootie Brown stated that the new freeze causes Oregonians to be “second-rate slaves” in their own homes, with the Marion County Sheriffs’ Office stating “We recognize that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic, and we believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.” When these criticisms were brought up to the governor, she stated “Look, all of this is irresponsible… These are politicians seeking headlines, not public servants, trying to save lives. My top priority as governor is to keep Oregonians healthy and safe. That’s where I’m focused.” Governor Kate Brown has also stated that she hopes that using law enforcement will not be necessary, however, she also stated that she is willing to utilize law enforcement to enforce the new limitations.