Marion County moves to “high” pandemic risk

Marion County will move from extreme risk to high risk for spreading the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, Feb. 26.

“For the second time in a row, we are seeing great progress in stopping the spread of COVID-19 across Oregon and saving lives,” said Gov. Kate Brown. “Oregonians continue to step up and make smart choices. While these county movements are welcome news, we must continue to take seriously health and safety measures, especially as more businesses reopen and we start to get out more. As we see infection rates going down and vaccinations ramping up, now is not the time to let down our guard. Continue to wear your masks, keep physical distance, and avoid indoor gatherings.”

The lowering of the risk level brings with it a slew of changes.

• The maximum suggested gathering size increases from 6six to eight people.

• Restaurants will be allowed to use indoor dining facilities, but will be limited to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller.

• Takeout is still recommended over in-person dining.

• A closing time of 11 p.m. will remain in effect.

• Long-term care facilities can allow indoor visitation.

• Churches and funeral homes will be able to open at 25% capacity or 150 people, whichever is lower.

• Indoor and recreation and fitness facilities will be able to operate at 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Indoor contact sports are still prohibited.

• Entertainment business, such as theaters, concert venues, indoor aquariums and museums will also be able to open at 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is lower.

• Offices may be opened to the public, but remote work is still recommended.

• Outdoor full-contact sports will be permitted for all ages provided organizations abide by health guidelines.

• Outdoor entertainment, such as the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Aquarium and outdoor theaters will be able to increase capacity from 50 people to 75 people.

Marion County remains among the top counties in the state for spread of COVID-19.

As of Monday, Feb. 22, adults 70 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. However, a rush to sign up overloaded the state’s website. To make a vaccination appointment visit, put on your patience pants and visit or call 1-866-698-6155 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Oregon has now administered a total of 821,311 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 920,000 doses of vaccine have been delivered to sites across Oregon.

More than 2,150 Oregonians have died as a result of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Brown ordered flags to fly at half-mast to honored the passing of more than 500,000 Americans due to coronavirus. The United States has experienced more deaths than any other country in the world and more than the total fatalities of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.