UPDATE (5:48 p.m. PT) — The Oregon Health Authority issued new guidance Friday on a range of issues related to Oregon reopening amid the pandemic.
Those included suggestions — and mandates — for face coverings. OHA suggests adults and children over the age of 2 wear a mask or face cloth when going into grocery stores or other places that vulnerable populations have to visit.
Businesses must require and provide face coverings to employees. They have the option of requiring masks for customers too, but must post clear signs indicating the requirement. Businesses still have to comply with state and federal laws that may require exemptions from face coverings, such as Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
Masks will be mandatory for passengers on public transit, which is a new development for the 31 Oregon counties moving into phase one of the governor’s reopening plans.
OHA said transit agencies must ensure passengers have ample space on buses and trains to social distance. That includes 3 feet between passengers and 6 feet between passengers and the vehicle operator. Vehicle occupancy under the new guidelines has to be clearly posted, as does information in multiple languages at transit stops advising passengers about COVID-19 symptoms.
Transit officials also have to provide employees access to sanitation products and are urged to do the same for passengers.
The guidance for camps and summer school is a departure from the “distance learning” mandate for schools, which shifted away from in-person instruction. The new rules allow more in-person instruction, starting June 1, but they aim to limit interaction, by keeping summer campers and students to stable groups of 10 or fewer. Classrooms need to keep desks at least six feet apart, and camps have to ensure each child has 35 square feet of space indoors, and 75 feet outdoors.
Many summer camps have been closing — including programs run by Portland Parks and Recreation.
The order doesn’t allow overnight summer camps. Among the rules for day camps - staff will need to collect information on campers and adults doing drop-off and pick-up, to help with contact tracing, if necessary.
The new guidance also reiterated much of the previously published rules for gyms, and directions on how communities should provide services to homeless communities during the pandemic.
Washington County releases reopening plan
The Washington County Board of Commissioners Friday approved a plan to move toward reopening.
“To be clear, today’s approval does not mean we are ready to apply to the Governor’s Office for phase one,” Board Chair Kathryn Harrington said in a statement. “Although Washington County is now one important step closer to reopening, we will continue to apply public health expertise and science to guide the next steps in our transition.”
The county has laid out criteria it is in the process of meeting to be approved for limited reopening as part of the governor’s plan.
It has met various criteria including declining coronavirus cases, sufficient personal protective equipment inventory and adequate testing. It is still working on other criteria including hiring more contact tracers.
The county said it is aiming to be approved by the governor’s office for the first phase of reopening by early to mid-June.
Oregon health officials report 63 new confirmed coronavirus cases
Oregon public health officials Friday reported 63 new confirmed coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total positive cases to 3,470.
Health officials Friday reported one new presumptive case. Those are people who have not tested positive but have coronavirus symptoms and have had close contact with someone confirmed to be infected with the virus.
Officials reported no new coronavirus-related deaths. In Oregon, 137 people are known to have died from COVID-19.
Oregon COVID-19 Map
Clark County tops 400 confirmed cases
In Southwest Washington, Clark County Public Health announced two new confirmed cases of coronavirus Friday, bringing the county’s total number of known cases to 401.
One additional death was reported Friday. In total, 25 people are known to have died of COVID-19 in Clark County.
According to the most recently available data from the Washington Department of Health, the state of Washington has 17,951 confirmed coronavirus cases and 992 coronavirus-related deaths.
DEQ extends closure of vehicle emissions testing stations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said Friday it is extending the closure of its vehicle inspection stations through at least May 31.
The inspection stations run vehicle emissions tests required prior to DMV registration in the Portland metro area and Medford and Ashland area every other year.
Oregon law enforcement agencies are still exercising discretion in the enforcement of driver’s licenses, vehicle permits and registrations that expire during the coronavirus pandemic.
Drivers still wishing to get their vehicles tested can visit DEQ’s vehicle inspection page for information on alternate DEQ Too stations and other options.
Video lottery terminals begin reopening in parts of Oregon
The Oregon Lottery Friday announced it is beginning to reopen video lottery terminals in counties approved for reopening in phase one of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s plan.
In order to meet guidelines, the Oregon Lottery said, the terminals must be spaced at least 6 feet apart, players must request access to a terminal before playing, employees must clean each terminal between play sessions and only one person is allowed at a terminal.
“While the shut down of video [lottery] was statewide and immediate, restarting will take some time as we work with retailers to ensure they can operate under the new guidelines,” Lottery Director Barry Pack said in a statement.
OHA releases guidelines for opening gyms
The Oregon Health Authority Thursday released guidance for reopening gyms and fitness centers as part of the governor’s plan for the first phase of reopening.
The agency directs fitness centers to use their square footage to determine new maximum capacity in order to limit the number of people inside of facilities to maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet.
Fitness facilities must also close all showers, saunas, pools and hot tubs, as well as water fountains, except for those that are designed to refill water bottles in a contact-free way.
OHA also has specific cleaning and disinfection guidelines for gyms and other facilities including cleaning restrooms at least twice daily and requiring employees or guests to wipe down all equipment, such as weights or machines, immediately before and after use.
Gyms are also required to record client contact information as well as the date and time of visits so that if there is a positive coronavirus case at the facility, public health officials can begin a contact tracing investigation.
Facilities are not required to make people wear face coverings, but OHA strongly encourages it. The agency also encourages facilities to screen clients with questions about their wellness, such as “Have you had a fever?” or “Have you had a new or worsening cough?”
The guidance currently applies to 31 counties that have been approved to open under phase one of the governor’s reopening plan.
Some Oregon cities and counties approved to start limited reopening
Some of Oregon’s largest cities can begin partially reopening specific types of businesses Friday.
Thirty-one counties were approved by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to begin phase one of her reopening plan — that includes a limited reopening of businesses including bars, restaurants, personal services businesses (including hair salons) and malls.
The list of cities reopening encapsulates five of Oregon’s 10 most populous cities including Eugene, Bend and Medford.
State officials refused applications to reopen from Marion and Polk counties, citing increased hospitalizations in the Salem area.
Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties — all in the Portland metro area — have not applied to reopen.