Marion, Polk counties moving to lower Covid risk levels

Larry Alexander, of Salem, places an order with server Jessica Strong at Wild Pear Restaurant on Wednesday, September 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Social gatherings, restaurants and church services can soon have more people in the Salem area as both Marion and Polk counties cleared thresholds to move to looser Covid restrictions Tuesday.

In Polk County, 65% of adults have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday. That allows the county to immediately move to “low risk” restrictions.

Under low risk rules, restaurants and bars could remain open until midnight, one hour later than currently allowed. Gyms, theaters and many other indoor entertainment venues could operate at 50% capacity, rather than the current 20%, and faith institutions could hold services at 75% indoor capacity.

Marion County will move to “moderate risk” on Friday as the number of new Covid cases detected has fallen, Brown said. That will allow restaurants to have 50% capacity indoors, rather than the current 25%. Gyms, theaters and other indoor entertainment venues could operate at 20% capacity, rather than 10%.

The changes come as Oregon is inching toward Brown’s target of vaccinating 70% of adults against Covid. At that point, Brown has said she’ll drop risk levels and the state’s mask mandate.

As of Monday, the state reported 68.7% of adult Oregonians have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine. Brown said Tuesday she would not move county risk levels again until Oregon reaches the 70% target.

-Rachel Alexander