‘Freeze’ ordered as COVID surges

As the COVID-19 curve in Oregon continues to head in the wrong direction, Gov. Kate Brown has moved the entire state back lockdown-adjacent space.

Brown previously announced mandates for reduced activity, but raised the restrictions to a “freeze” that will halt activity at indoor recreational spaces until Dec. 2.

“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 alarms. 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,” said Brown in a press release Friday, Nov. 13.

Brown said there will be strict enforcement of the new measure to control spread of the novel coronavirus. Violations are misdemeanors punishable by citation or arrest, Brown said. She planned to work with state police and local law enforcement to encourage Oregonians to comply with her directive.

The Two-Week Freeze measures include:

• Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households. 

• Limiting faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. 

• Limiting eating and drinking establishments to take-out and delivery only. 

• Closing gyms and fitness organizations. 

• Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts. 

• Closing zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools. 

• Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup. 

• Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup. 

• Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events). 

• Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public. 

• Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities (outdoor visitation permitted for supporting quality of life).

Unlike the spring lockdown, the new freeze does not apply to personal services such as barber shops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy), congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare.

The Salem-Keizer School District has limited its in-person services even further and canceled sporting activities as a result of the freeze.

According to the most recent weekly report, the Oregon Health authority, nearly 12% of more than 34,000 COVID-19 tests were positive for the disease. People of Latinx descent are being disproportionately affected by the virus, the group represents approximately 13% of Oregon’s population and 42% of known cases.

In the report, Community Action Head Start – Buena Crest had reported two cases of COVID-19 to the Oregon Health Authority. The preschool is located at the northernmost end of Keizer on River Road North. The report does not indicate whether adults or children were the ones to test positive. One staff member of McNary High School tested positive for the virus,

There were 49 new cases of the virus reported in Marion County between Nov. 4 and Nov. 12.