After days of anticipation Gov. Kate Brown announced on Thursday, May 14, that 31 counties in Oregon were ready to enter into Phase 1 of reopening, including Lake County.
This is part of Brown’s phased reopening approach that she codified by sending guidance to all the counties. After that each county had to submit a plan of how they would follow the guidelines set down by the State and the Oregon Health Authority. Most counties turned in plans by Friday, May 8, at which point they were reviewed for their completeness.
Lake County initially finished their plan on Thursday, April 30, though they had to make a couple of modifications on Friday, May 8, after the Governor’s office made changes to the preresiquites.
Phase 1 will last a minimum of 21 days, up from the original 14 days, with which the Lake County Commissioners objected. Also part of the overall plan is businesses that are seeing customers must gather contact information, so that tracing can be done if positive cases are observed.
Of the 36 counties in Oregon, 33 submitted applications to reopen on May 15. Out of those Marion and Polk were denied, and will be reviewed each week until they are deemed ready. Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas did not apply to reopen yet, though they are considering submitting their Phase 1 application in early June.
“I urge those working from home to still work home. I am encouraging people to only travel for essential needs,” said Brown.
She does not envision the Phase 1 reopening to be a green light for people to start traveling to other parts of the state. She urges people to limit travel for essential needs only, and hopes that rural areas are not over run by people from urban areas looking for an escape.
“I was very happy about the applications we got from all the counties, and the detail that they put into them,” said Brown.
Brown believes that all counties reopening in Phase 1 are ready and more prepared now than they would have been earlier. She said that all the counties are in this together and only together can the entire state move forward to a full reopening.
While she did warn there may be an uptick of positive cases, especially in areas that have seen either zero or only a small handful, that will not automatically derail the reopening process. Instead the Governor’s office will work with the Oregon Health Authority to determine the reasons so there are positive results, and work towards containing them.
OHA Dir. Patrick Allen was happy with the way Oregonians have responded to the Stay Home, Save Lives Executive Order which he said help flatten the curve and made sure that Oregon is ready to reopen. Though he did warn that the virus has not gone away and it is still in the state.
Phase 1 allows restaurants to open for sit-down dining as long as tables are six feet apart to maintain social distancing. Employees must wear masks while at work, and encourage customers to either wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Also all bars and restaurants have to be closed by 10 p.m. In Lakeview some restaurants have reopened their doors for sit down dining including The Dinner Bell Café, Tall Town Café, Eagles Nest Food and Spirits, The Indian Village, TJ’S Family Fun Center and Restaurant, Pizza Villa, Jerry’s Restaurant and El Aguila Real. Snack Shack, Happy Horse Deli, The Polar Bear, and Burger Queen are still doing “to go orders only” and at this time are not planning to allow sit-down dining in Phase 1. Julia’s on 395 has decided to permanently close its doors.
In Phase 1 salons and barbershops can see one client at a time for appointments only, while also collecting contact information. Face masks are required of the workers in salons. Brown is encouraging salon owners to ask screening questions over the phone of clients before letting them make an appointment, though it is up to each salon whether they want to take temperatures of the clients or not.
Gyms are allowed to reopen with limited capacity, with sanitizing supplies on hand. At Affordable Fitness they have closed off every other cardio machine to maintain the social distancing, and added more sanitizing supplies to wipe down the equipment.
Many local churches have also started to allow people in for services, such as St. Patrick Catholic Church, though they are limited to 25 people maximum.
Details for what will be required for Phase 2 have not been released by the Governor’s office as of press time, though it is expected soon as some counties feel that they are ready to move to Phase 2.
For more information contact the individual businesses.