Deschutes, Lane, and 29 other counties have been approved to reopen tomorrow, which means bars and restaurants will be able to serve onsite diners in cities like Bend and Eugene. Some of the closest reopening counties to Portland are Yamhill County, in Willamette Valley wine country; Hood River county, about an hour and a half from Portland; and Columbia County, to the northwest.
Last week, Brown announced that counties could begin applying to reopen with a number of specific requirements, including a decline in hospitalizations related to coronavirus, the ability to administer 30 tests per 10,000 people per week, and 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 people (contact tracers figure out who has been exposed to the virus when a case emerges). The Oregonian reports that 33 of Oregon’s 36 counties applied to reopen, but that did not include Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington counties, all in the Portland area; most of those counties plan to apply sometime within the next four weeks, though Multnomah County chair Deborah Kafoury says it would be “irresponsible” to give a potential reopening date for the county, or even expect that the county would open anytime soon. The state denied Marion and Polk counties’ applications; Oregon’s capital, Salem, covers portions of both counties. Umatilla, Morrow, and Jefferson counties were still under review this morning, but the state approved the applications by the afternoon.
Restaurants and bars that want to reopen must keep tables six feet apart within dining rooms, limit parties to 10 people or fewer, and stop serving food and drinks by 10 p.m. Bars and restaurants will have to operate this way for at least 21 days, which is how long “phase one” reopening lasts in Oregon; Brown has not yet announced the specifics for phase two reopening, or what restaurants will have to do during that time.
Many of the counties included in this list house some of Portland’s favorite vacation destinations, including the beaches of Seaside and Cannon Beach, Bend and its several breweries, and the natural areas in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Although Portland’s counties are still under the stay-at-home order, it’ll be interesting to see if Portlanders will sneak off to these locations to go wine or beer tasting, or even to dine inside a restaurant. If the counties approved for phase one reopening see a significant spike in cases the state cannot curb using quarantine measures, they will be forced to “close” once again, staying under the state’s stay at home order.
This is the full list of approved counties:
Updated May 14, 2020, at 4:44 p.m.
This story has been updated to include comments from Kafoury, and to include the new counties approved.
• Restaurant and bar requirements for phase one reopening [Official]
• Oregon’s COVID-19 homepage [Official]
• These 33 Oregon counties have applied to reopen during coronavirus pandemic: Read their plans [O]
• ‘Unrealistic’ to expect Multnomah County to reopen soon, county chair says [PBJ]