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Several Oregon Counties Could Begin The Second Wave of ‘Reopening’ on Friday

Gov. Kate Brown announced that counties could begin applying for phase two reopening permissions, which would allow restaurants to serve until midnight

The Deschutes river runs through Bend, Oregon, where buildings sit among the trees.
Bend, Oregon, a part of Deschutes County. Deschutes County is just one of the several counties that have applied to begin phase-two reopening this week.
Mike Albright / Shutterstock
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

At least 28 counties have applied to begin phase two reopening in Oregon, which allows gatherings of more than 50 people and an extension of the restaurant and bar service curfew to midnight. Earlier today, Gov. Kate Brown announced the plans for the second wave of reopening in Oregon, which could begin in counties across the state as soon as Friday.

On May 15, parts of Oregon began reopening after almost two months under a coronavirus-related stay-at-home order. The specific reopening plan, however, is more intricate than other states: Instead of opening up restaurants and public spaces in one go, the state has opened counties individually in different phases.

In this second wave, the state will ease more of the current restrictions on Oregon businesses and individuals, allowing places like pools and movie theaters to reopen with social distancing guidelines, and religious groups to begin larger in-person services once again. Restaurants still have to maintain six feet of distance between diners.

To be eligible for phase two, counties need to have spent at least 21 days in phase one, meeting all of those requirements — a declining number of cases, increased testing capacity, etc. To enter phase two, the county must also show it can trace 95 percent of new cases within 24 hours, and have no more than 5 percent new cases over the previous week.

31 counties are eligible to reopen on Friday; their applications will be reviewed throughout the week, with the governor announcing who is cleared to begin phase two on Thursday. According to the state’s coronavirus information site, 28 counties have already applied to reopen; that includes counties like Columbia County, which borders Multnomah County to the west.

All counties except Multnomah County have begun phase one reopening, which allows dining in restaurants with certain parameters, including a 10 p.m. curfew and six feet of distance between tables. Those phase-one reopening guidelines have received some criticism from Portland business owners, especially those who find the 10 p.m. curfew prohibitive and arbitrary. “I was thinking midnight would be fine, but 10 is just... why? Why not 9? Why not 11?” Rum Club owner Mike Shea said late last week. “If you’re a responsible proprietor, you’ll still keep people from getting drunk.” Portland proper has yet to enter this phase of reopening; late last month, Multnomah County officials announced plans to apply for phase one reopening on June 5, hoping to reopen by June 12.

Phase Two summary [Official]
Phase Two Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants [Official]
County reopening status [Official]
Oregon Restaurants Could Open in Select Counties As Soon As May 15 [EPDX]
Portland Could Reopen Bars and Restaurants As Early As June 12 [EPDX]