On Friday May 15, several Oregon counties began the first stage of reopening their economies in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. As approved by the state, 34 of Oregon’s 36 counties have begun loosening restrictions and returning to a state of normalcy. The new guidelines allow for larger groups to assemble and more businesses to reopen. Each county, however, must still adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. The idea is to help foster economic recovery while still working to quell the ongoing pandemic.
These new freedoms come alongside a new set of guidelines for the counties, which have not yet begun the process of reopening. Among many things, the new rules for the still closed counties allow for limited use of public transportation, the opening of many state parks and the continued use of essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations. Much like the counties that have started the reopening process, the unapproved counties are required to maintain their social distancing guidelines.
Currently, only Multnomah County has not yet applied to reopen. Lake Oswego’s Clackamas County was recently approved to reopen, and started the process on May 23, while Washington applied to begin on June 1. Multnomah currently has no specific date by which they plan to reopen, deeming themselves not yet ready to begin loosening their restrictions. Both Polk and Marion County, which had previously been denied approval to reopen, were given the go ahead to start reopening on May 22.