Governor Kate Brown issues Executive Order: Stay Home Except for Essential Needs

March 23, 2020

Governor Kate Brown Tightens Social Distancing Measures, Tells Oregonians to “Stay Home, Save Lives”

Updated orders for individuals, businesses, public organizations, and outdoor spaces to prevent COVID-19 spread

March 23, 2020 (Portland, OR)—Excerpts from the Press Release from the office of Governor Kate Brown

Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-12, directing everyone in Oregon to stay at home to the maximum extent possible and adding to the list of businesses that will be temporarily closed to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. The order is effective immediately, and remains in effect until ended by the Governor.

About the order:

  • All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.
  • It closes and prohibits shopping at specific categories of retail businesses, for which close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters, and yoga studios.
  • It requires businesses not closed by the order to implement social distancing policies in order to remain open, and requires workplaces to implement teleworking and work-at-home options when possible.
  • It directs Oregonians to stay home whenever possible, while permitting activities outside the home when social distance is maintained. It closes playgrounds, sports courts, and skate parks, among other types of outdoor recreation facilities. Those that remain open are required to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • It outlines new guidelines for child care facilities, setting limits and rules on amounts of children allowed in care, and outlining that child care groups may not change participants.
  • Failure to comply with the order will be considered an immediate danger to public health and subject to a Class C misdemeanor

Following this order will save lives, while still allowing businesses to function if they can protect employees and customers through social distancing. While many businesses and organizations that are heavily dependent on foot traffic and in-person interactions have already closed or will close under the expanded order, other businesses that make robust plans to meet social distancing requirements—and enforce those requirements—may remain in operation, preserving jobs while ensuring health.

This distinction from closing all businesses except for those categorized as essential as mandated in other states, aims to minimize unintended consequences and add clarity for businesses who can adjust their business models to accommodate vital social distancing measures.

Retail businesses closed by Executive Order 20-12 include:

  • Shopping: Outdoor and indoor malls and retail complexes, although individual types of businesses not subject to the measures may stay open.
  • Fitness: Gyms, sports and fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise studios Grooming: Barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and non-medical wellness spas
  • Entertainment: Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, and pool halls

Other retail businesses will not be able to continue to operate unless they can implement strict social distancing measures and designate an employee or officer charged with ensuring compliance. Retail businesses able to adapt to take-out style shopping experiences can also remain open. If businesses can have employees work from home, then they must do so. Many of the businesses outlined in the order have voluntarily closed their doors already, to do their part to protect Oregon’s communities. In addition, non-retail businesses like manufacturers and the construction industry must ensure that their employees are maintaining social distancing measures.

Please read the full details on all businesses listed in the executive order here.

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