On Friday, March 20, the City of Keizer declared a state of emergency in relation to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

The action was taken not because of a Keizer-borne outbreak, but to position the city to take advantage of resources should one take place, said City Manager Chris Eppley. 

“One of the tools available to us is an emergency declaration. This is a step we believe should be made for specific purposes not already covered by the declarations by the county, state and federal levels. At this point, the time has come for the City of Keizer to proceed to declare a state of emergency so that resources will be more readily available and we can more quickly respond to changing needs,” said Mayor Cathy Clark in a statement regarding the declaration. 

The move positions the city to take advantage of financial and material resources, help coordinate public safety services and claim cost reimbursements should the need arise.

On Monday, March 23, Gov. Kate Brown issued an order instructing all residents of the state to stay home except when traveling for essential work, buying food and similar critical supplies or returning to their own homes.

Defying the order can result in being charged with endangering public health, a class C misdemeanor. People found to have violated the order could be jailed for up to 30 days or fined $1,250.

The order shuts down playgrounds, parks and many other gathering spots. It also closes businesses including shopping malls, tattoo parlors, barber shops, gyms. 

Businesses that must close include beauty salons, nail salons, spas, theaters and amusement parks. Offices must close to people who can do their jobs remotely.

Daycares can continue to operate but with restrictions that limit rooms to 10 children apiece with the same set of children assigned to each room. Restaurants can continue to offer delivery and to-go service, and grocery stores, and hospitals, among others, may remain open.

Playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and other outdoor recreation facilities are designated as off limits. 

Back in Keizer, the Keizer Chamber of Commerce is preparing for Oregon businesses to become eligible for Small Business Association Impact Loans, the low-interest loans are intended to give businesses and non-profits and working capital as a result of COVID-19 impacts.