Stay Home or Face Penalties, Governor Tells Oregonians

Violating Monday's executive order will be a class C misdemeanor.

By Julia Silverman March 23, 2020

Following a weekend of Oregonians not adhering to extreme social distancing measures, Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order, enforceable by law, to stay home. 

Oregonians must stay home for the foreseeable future to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the state, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday. 

There are a few exceptions. Residents will be permitted to leave their homes for essential services, like grocery store runs, doctors appointments or to visit a pharmacy, but will have to stay at least six feet away from anyone not in their family when outside their home. 

Walking and hiking are still allowed, but all such activities must be “non-contact,” the governor ordered; house parties are banned unless the six foot buffer can be maintained. 

And there are teeth: Flouting any of these regulations will be classified as a class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both. 

The order also mandates the closure of a raft of businesses, some of which have stayed open over the last week, even as schools closed and restaurants and bars had to shift to take-out and delivery only models. That includes amusement parks, aquariums, art galleries, barber shops and hair/beauty/nail salons, bowling alleys, furniture stores, gyms and fitness studios, laser tag, jewelry stores, day spas, museums, skating rinks, senior activity centers, ski resorts, tattoo parlors, theaters and yoga studios, among others. 

Retail businesses that don’t close down will be shut down by the state, the order says. 

The only exceptions are for grocery, health care, medical or pharmacy services. Non-consumer-facing businesses, meanwhile, are being told to move solely to teleworking whenever possible, or to designate a single employee to enforce social distancing at the office. Child care facilities may remain open under the governor’s decree, but can only serve 10 children per classroom, and then only with the same group of 10 families. Those who are working on the coronavirus response must be given first crack at available daycare spots. 

From Monday morning, all playground equipment in the state is off limits, public and private campgrounds must close, and—after a sunny weekend in which Oregonians packed the Oregon Coast and the Columbia River Gorge, among other scenic locales—travel is restricted to only essential movements. 

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