On Thursday, Governor Kate Brown detailed the next phase of her plan to reopen Oregon. This followed her announcement on May 5 that some state parks, outdoor recreation facilities, and areas across Oregon would have limited opening for day use.

Oregon’s COVID-19 infection rate is the fourth lowest in the U.S. The social distancing measures that Oregonians have been adhering to since March have resulted in successfully flattening the curve, and now the Governor’s efforts are turning toward safely and slowly reopening each part of our society and economy.

In Thursday’s press conference, Governor Brown detailed the prerequisites to gradually opening the state, which includes a decrease in symptoms, cases, and hospitalizations for at least 14 days. Businesses should be prepared to record customers’ contact information for contact tracing, and counties must be able to trace 95 percent of contacts within 24 hours. As well, counties must have the capacity to adequately test 30 people per 10,000 residents per week.

Other requirements include adequate testing capabilities and personal protective equipment for hospitals. Hospitals must have 20 percent of their beds available.

Counties throughout Oregon can apply to reopen beginning Friday, May 8, and if they meet the criteria, some counties may be able to reopen as soon as Friday, May 15. Pat Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said he expects most counties in Oregon to be able to meet the criteria to begin the first phase of the Governor’s plan to reopen the state.

Under Phase One, restaurants, bars, and retail businesses can reopen, as long as they are able to follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. As well, personal care businesses, such as salons, barbershops, gyms, and other businesses will be allowed to reopen. Childcare, summer school, and youth programs will also be allowed to resume.

“We are not returning to business as usual. We are venturing into uncharted territory,” said Director Allen. To watch the full press briefing, click here.