Gov. Kate Brown Announces Statewide Freeze Amid COVID-19 Spike

In response to a concerning rise in COVID-19 cases across the state of Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown announced  Nov. 13 that she was enacting a two-week statewide “freeze” on various gatherings and activities in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The freeze starts on Nov. 18 and ends on Dec. 2, which means this will affect Thanksgiving plans. During a press conference, Brown described the new measures as similar, yet different than the full lockdown back in March. Here is what to expect:

  • Restaurants are limited to takeout only.
  • Retail stores, grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to 75 percent capacity, while strongly encouraging curbside pick-up.
  • Gyms and fitness organizations are closed, as well as venues that host indoor or outdoor events. This includes places like zoos and museums.
  • Churches and other faith-based venues are limited to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 outdoors.
  • Businesses are encouraged to require employees to work from home if possible for all businesses throughout the state.
  • Social gatherings can have a maximum of six people from no more than two households. People should only socialize with one other household. For those who live alone, Brown said to pick up to five people total to socialize with for the next few weeks.
  • This freeze will not affect protocols for personal services such as hair salons and non medical massage therapy. It also will not change any protocols for sports, youth programs, schools and homeless sheltering, which will follow previous Oregon Health Authority Guidelines.

Brown said she is also asking Oregonians to wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking indoors and outdoors.

Though businesses do not have to be in compliance until next Wednesday, she says individuals should start taking heed of these safety practices right now. After the two weeks, Brown said they will assess the progress made and what measures may still be necessary.

“Given the data and modeling we are seeing, my public health experts tell me that some counties will need longer to flatten the curve and slow the transmission of the virus,” she said. One of these counties, Multnomah County, will be in the freeze for at least four weeks.

For Thanksgiving, Brown encouraged people to invite over one other household. She also encourages Oregonian’s to Zoom with their family.

“I know it doesn’t look like the Thanksgiving holiday we’ve all have been planning for weeks. And I know it’s really, really hard. But unfortunately, its a necessity right now,” Brown said.

Earlier this morning, Brown along with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a joint travel advisory that says those who are traveling out of state or internationally should quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Brown said that, as always, the new freeze measures are enforceable by law.