Over the last two weeks, a plan to reopen Oregon has started to form. Between various press conferences, leaked drafts of reopening plans, and potential guidelines, Oregon is starting to get a picture of what it will look like when Oregon businesses are allowed to reopen — and under what circumstances that will be allowed to occur. The biggest, over-arching takeaway here: Reopening the economy won’t happen in one fell swoop — the state won’t reopen all its bars and restaurants at once. However, based on a Friday press conference, Gov. Kate Brown said “some parts of the state could open as soon as May 15,” referring mostly to rural communities.
During that press conference, Brown announced two new plans that could dramatically speed up the process to reopening: A partnership with OHSU to start randomized testing (at least 15,000 tests will have to be available per week to meet the governor’s safety threshold), and the development of a contact tracing team to help mitigate the spread of the virus (the state is planning to hire about 600 contact tracers, who will investigate the potential path of spread when a case is identified and encourage those exposed to self-isolate).
The testing and tracing requirements are an essential first step to get to the “first phase” of reopening. According to leaked drafts of the reopening plans obtained by the Oregonian, which are subject to change, that first phase of reopening could include restaurants, though it’s unclear to what extent: In early drafts, those restaurants would have to maintain “strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols,” though it’s unclear what exactly those protocols would look like. The only real hints come from another draft, which includes potential guidelines and recommendations like continued use of face coverings and collecting customer names and contact information for tracing potential outbreaks. Yet another draft includes potential mandates; for instance, restaurants may have to limit in-person dining to 50 percent capacity, or spacing tables six feet apart. Still, the state has yet to release firm, specific guidelines yet.
• How could Oregon reopen amid coronavirus? Read details from a draft report the governor’s office didn’t want shared. [O]
• Oregon restaurants may be asked to consider keeping patrons’ names for coronavirus reopening [O]
• Reopening Oregon: Read the draft plan to open restaurants, bars, brewpubs during the coronavirus pandemic [O]
Updated May 1, 2020, at 2:44 p.m.
This story has been updated to include more details from drafts of plans obtained by the Oregonian.