Viviana Gourley, medical assistant at Salud Medical Center, waits between patients at the center's COVID-19 testing area on Wednesday, April 29. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Marion County residents and businesses have new rules to follow starting Wednesday under Gov. Kate Brown’s latest order to curb rapidly riding Covid infections and hospitalizations across Oregon.
Here’s what you need to know.
Keep social gatherings small, infrequent and stick with the same people.
Parties, weddings and other social events indoors continue to drive Covid spread across Oregon, and health authorities said reducing the size and frequency of gatherings remains key to slowing the virus’ spread. They’d prefer you not socialize with anyone outside your home, but if you do, keep it to six people or fewer, stick with the same group, and wear masks and remain outdoors whenever possible.
Work, long-term care visits and other indoor locations also have tighter rules.
Businesses are supposed to mandate employees work from home “to the greatest extent possible,” and long-term care facilities can’t have indoor visits. Other indoor venues that are open, like gyms, bowling alleys, museums and pools, are also capped at 50 people total.
Fewer people are allowed at restaurants, and takeout or eating outdoors remain the safest options.
Restaurants are capped at 50 total people indoors at any one time, including employees, down from an earlier limit of 100. Restaurants also can’t seat parties of more than six people together, a rule intended to stop people from multiple households from gathering together indoors.
The rules are in effect for the next two weeks for nine Oregon counties.
From Nov. 11-25, residents and businesses in Baker, Clackamas, Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla, Union and Washington counties are asked to “pause” social activities and follow other rules designed to minimize the number of people indoors together who aren’t from the same household.
Polk County isn’t listed, but health authorities don’t want people traveling to get around the rules.
West Salem businesses and residents won’t have to follow the guidelines because the Covid infection rate in Polk County remains far lower. At a news conference announcing the rules last week, Oregon Health Authority officials said the rules won’t work if people try to evade them.
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Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.