Coronavirus updates

Good Morning, News: Economic Relief for Portlanders, Dems Working on More Coronavirus Spending, and Work Continues on Trump's Border Wall, Neat!

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Anton Petrus / Getty images

Good Morning, News is brought to you by Bar Bar, where their beloved burgers are available for takeout or delivery from Caviar.

Good morning, Portland! It's the last day of March 2020, the longest year of your life.

Here are the headlines!

• In an in-depth interview with NPR, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that "this virus is going to be with us" for at least 24 months.

• Rent is due this week for a lot of people—but don't worry if your income has changed because of the coronavirus and you can't afford to pay it, because the city of Portland is under an eviction moratorium. Here's more info on what you need to do—and why some tenants' rights activists don't think the moratorium goes far enough.

• One local restaurant worker's warning:

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The Mercury Cheer Up Club: A Roundup of Funny Stuff to Brighten Your Day!

Meow meow Carole killed her husband and fed him to the tigers meow meow.
"Meow meow Carole killed her husband and fed him to the tigers meow meow." Twitter

OKAY TEAM, you've made it through another Monday! Now you can treat yourself with this roundup of laff-filled and sweet tweets designed to make you smile. YOU'RE WELCOME, even though I didn't hear you thank me.

Today in "this should be our new national anthem" news:

Today in "if more quarantine means more cat fashion shows... so be it" news:

Today in "technology has gone too far!" news:

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Watch Live: Portland City Club's Mayoral Debate

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Despite campaigns being slightly derailed by global pandemic, Portland's still on track to hold its May 19 primary election as scheduled.

It's a packed ballot: Portlanders will be voting on nearly all city council seats, a new district attorney, new state legislators, and a future mayor of Portland. Incumbent Ted Wheeler is facing a long list of competitors, including police accountability activist Teressa Raiford, urban policy activist Sarah Iannarone, and environmental scientist Ozzie González. Want to hear these four face off from the comfort of your home? Tune in to City Club's virtual mayoral debate below at 6 pm.

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The I, Anonymous Blog Quote o' the Day: "STOP ORDERING DELIVERY YOU ANIMALS"

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While the I, Anonymous Blog provides anonymous rants and confessions that are usually comedic or just fucking weird in nature, occasionally we receive one that reveals much more than we expected. Such is the case in this submission titled, "STOP ORDERING DELIVERY YOU ANIMALS."

Let me give you a little window into the lives of the employees of that restaurant you can't live without. Every day, 10 of us show up to work praying that nobody came in contact with the virus overnight. If someone did catch it, we're all going to get it because our kitchen is the size of a hallway. Social distancing is a bad joke we tell each other with a shake in our voices because it's as impossible as hitting the Powerball for us. Then we get to spend all night dealing with your delivery drivers. Consider if you will the fact that these people have no boss. They have no co workers. There's no one to say, "you look sick. You should go home." People, one in five of these drivers walks in coughing and visibly feverish. Are you really moving your food to a plate and washing your hands before you eat? Did you order anything with uncooked produce on it? Congrats on your covid, Karen. Hope your cold Applebees/ Red Robin/ Olive Garden was worth it. Corporations won't shut down as long as you order from them, and we're tired of risking our lives for your soggy burger and fries. Make no mistake, we're not essential. We're expendable.

NOTE: If you are an employee who is being forced to work in an unsafe environment during the COVID-19 crisis, YOUR BOSS SHOULD BE REPORTED TO STATE AUTHORITIES. They are in direct violation of Gov. Brown's executive order, and should be reported to the Oregon department of Occupational Safety & Health (OSHA) here.

Got a confession, rant, or anonymous "thank you" that you'd like to share with the world? Drop it off in the I, Anonymous Blog—where we do "social distancing" to the max!


A Portland Tenant's Guide to Legally Withholding April Rent

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Marie LaFauci / Getty Images

The societal response to COVID-19 has forced thousands of Oregonians to apply for unemployment, close their business, or take unpaid time off work to watch kids out of school or care for vulnerable family members. For Portland renters already living paycheck to paycheck, the unexpected loss of income has impacted their ability to cover rent for the foreseeable future.

To safeguard those tenants, the city, county and state have unveiled temporary programs prohibiting evictions. There's been confusion, however, around what exactly those protections include—and how a renter can benefit from them. As we approach the first of the month, let's review how these local and state-level supports work.

We'll also get you up to speed on the work activists are doing to push lawmakers to go further to protect tenants.

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SEX

Savage Love: Everything Else Is Locked Down—Why Shouldn't That Dick Be Locked Down Too?

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I'm a 23-year-old, single genderqueer (and any-gender-dating) dick-possessor. I've played a few times with chastity devices, and each experience has been excruciatingly painful. I would love your help determining if this is a matter of my body not being compatible with chastity or if there's a device/method that would work better for me.

Some details that might help: I'm most interested in chastity as a way of de-centering my cock from the pleasure and sensations that I feel during sex and other kinky play. I'm open to trying it longterm, but I'm focused really on using it for scenes/sex that lasts a few hours at most. A factor in this is that I get hard very easily (like I'm a damn teenager) but also come quickly. I'm pretty good about communicating what works for me to partners and not too self-conscious about it—it's a physiological quirk—but it does get in the way of really enjoying scenes and sex, since I have to focus on not coming (and it definitely gets in the way of topping). While I've looked into some options to handle it (sprays didn't work and I want to prioritize psychiatric needs for meds), I honestly enjoy non-dick pleasure more—hence locking my dick up so that it's a non-factor seems appropriate.

However, the getting hard easily issue seems to be getting in the way. I've tried several cages: a cheap plastic one, a Holy Trainer, and a silicone one. With the silicone one, it bends and stretches, uncomfortably constricting me and making the "not being able to touch it" purpose ineffective. The hard plastics, on the other hand, get incredibly painful after about twenty minutes, especially when I am hard, like a burning/stretching, to the extent that I have to end/safeword out of the scene—and I'm of average size so it's not an issue of completely incompatible fit.

I would really appreciate it if you had any advice for me on options that fit my desires and limitations! Because I want to be...

Locked & Loaded

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Today's Coronavirus News Roundup: Portland's Small Business Grants, Suing FOX News, and Social Distancing is WORKING, People!

Riddle: What has two thumbs and is a deadly, lying sack of shit? (Psst. Its FOX News Sean Hannity.)
Riddle: What has two thumbs and is a deadly, lying sack of shit? (Psst. It's FOX News' Sean Hannity.) Ed Rode / Getty Images

Here's your daily roundup of all the local and national news about COVID-19. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

• The strict social distancing measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Seattle metro area appear to be paying off. Hospitals haven't been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, the death rate has slowed, and expert analysis shows that the overall spread in the region is decelerating.

New statistical modeling shows Oregon is on the right path to flattening our state's coronavirus curve.

• As of today there are 606 positive coronavirus cases in Oregon (that we know of), and COVID-related deaths have increased by three to 16.

• On Sunday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Oregon now qualifies for special emergency funding due to the spread of COVID-19. That spending could go towards temporary hospitals, mortuary costs, or other emergency solutions to combat this virus.

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Rogue Spirits is the Latest Oregon Distillery to Make Hand Sanitizer for Emergency Workers

Rogue Distillery joins others in helping slow the COVID-19 crisis.
Rogue Distillery joins others in helping slow the COVID-19 crisis. Rogue Spirits

To provide help to first responders and those on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis, Oregon-based distillery Rogue Spirits has joined other booze-makers across the country to make hand sanitizer that's being donated to fire departments, ambulance services, police departments, and more.

Recently the Food and Drug administration changed their guidelines about who can produce hand sanitizer, as long as the company met the criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO). Rogue says their sanitizers are made with "80% ethanol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water and packaged in 375 ml, 4 oz and 16 oz bottles." According to Brian Pribyl, Head Distiller of Rogue Ales & Spirits:

“As a distillery, we make alcohol every day, so a hand sanitizer was an obvious way to help. It’s been amazing to watch the entire distilling community come together during this crisis. We can't make gowns, gloves or medical equipment but we can keep a steady supply of alcohol flowing. If we can supply a hand sanitizer to the front-line of this pandemic, even if that means one less thing they have to worry about sourcing, we're calling that a win.”

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Grant Application Open for Portland Small Businesses Hurt By COVID-19

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Alessandro Salvador / EyeEm / Getty Images

The short application window for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 in Portland to apply for up to $10,000 in emergency grant funding opened Monday. The $2 million grant package, approved by Portland City Council last week, is expected to support at least 150 local businesses who've been financially crushed by the virus' spread.

Businesses have until 11.:59 pm Wednesday, April 1 to apply.

The public funding is available for business with less than 50 employees that make no more than $2 million in annual gross revenue. According to Prosper Portland, the city development agency overseeing the grant, eligible businesses must be "public facing and directly impacted by new COVID-19 public health requirements" or have experienced at least a 25 percent decline in revenue since Feb 1, 2020.

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Good Morning, News: COVID-19 Slows in Seattle, White House Estimates 200k Deaths, and Oregon Gets FEMA Relief

We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus has threatened our ability to keep producing the Mercury. If you’re able, please consider donating to the Mercury.

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Karen Ducey / Getty Images

Good morning, Portland! I hope you had a delightful weekend, if the concept of a weekend even exists anymore. Who else is looking forward to staying inside all weekend and avoiding humanity BY CHOICE? Until then, here's the news you need to know before jumping into apocalypse, week three:

First, some good news: The strict social distancing measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Seattle metro area appear to be paying off. Hospitals haven't been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, the death rate has slowed, and expert analysis shows that the overall spread in the region is decelerating. In Oregon, new statistical modeling has found that if Oregonians continue to stay home, we could see a similar trend.

Back to the bummer news: The White House announced yesterday that, even if the country takes aggressive action to slow COVID-19's spread, as many as 200,000 people could die from the virus in the US. To make sure that number doesn't grow, Donald Trump went back on his promise to save Easter, and extended the national social distancing guidelines until the end of April.

A toast to the heroes in the White House press pool:

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FEMA Approves Coronavirus Aid for Oregon

Volunteers transformed the Oregon Convention Center into an emergency shelter last weekend.
Volunteers transformed the Oregon Convention Center into an emergency shelter last weekend. MOTOYA NAKAMURA / MULTNOMAH COUNTY

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Sunday that Oregon now qualifies for special emergency funding due to the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

According to FEMA's press release, funding is available for Oregon state, tribal, and local governments, as well as some non-profits. In other states hit hard by the coronavirus, FEMA funding has been used for things like temporary field hospitals. Some states with high death counts have asked for FEMA funding to help cover mortuary costs.

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The I, Anonymous Blog Quote o' the Day: You Don't Need Marzipan!

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The I, Anonymous Blog has been ON FIRE lately with juicy (often times righteous) rants regarding the shitheels of our society who are making the COVID-19 crisis exponentially worse—particularly for GROCERY STORE WORKERS. Recently we spotlighted a grocery store worker's plea for people to stop being fucking dicks to workers, and today we are featuring a similar ask—pointed toward those who, for some reason, are still calling the grocery stores, even though they must realize that these employees are wildly understaffed and overworked... right? I MEAN, PLEASE GOD TELL ME THEIR HEADS AREN'T SO FAR UP THEIR ASSES THAT THEY REALIZE THIS, AND... whoo. Okay. I'll step aside, and let this person's rant (called "STOP CALLING") commence.

Just stop calling grocery stores to find out if we have lightly salted tortilla chips, medium sized capers, tellecherry black peppercorns, and marzipan.

YOU are thwarting our efforts to rebuild on a daily basis as we must answer these calls and go look for your non-essential items in a PC fashion.

Just limit your shopping to once every two weeks, buy essentials, and Stop. Fucking. Calling.

Do you have a message to send to the clueless doorknobs of the world (or even a confession or "thank you")? Submit it to the I, Anonymous Blog—which is rarely sanitized for your protection.

(OOH! And if you're looking for funny podcasts, why not give the I, Anonymous Show podcast a listen?)


Saturday's Coronavirus News Roundup: There's Hope (If We Stay Home), More Trump Blunders, and We Can Pump Our Gas Again (But I Forgot How!)

Oregonians temporarily allowed to pump their own gas.
Oregonians temporarily allowed to pump their own gas. Dimitri Otis / Getty Images

Here's your daily roundup of all the local and national news about COVID-19. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

• Happy Saturday everyone! Special shoutout to those who are just doing the best they can. We see you, and we're rooting for you! Need a quick cheer up? Check out these funny and sweet tweets we've curated just for you, designed to make you laugh and smile!

The governor's office, in association with Wieden+Kennedy and OHA, have put together an ad campaign designed to inspire you to support essential workers and STAY THE EFF INSIDE. (My words, not Kate Brown's.) Give it a look, and download a poster!

• Yesterday's confirmed coronavirus cases in Oregon was 414—today it has jumped to 479. There are now 13 reported deaths caused by COVID-19.

• REMINDER: According to a new study, if Oregonians stay home like we're supposed to, our hospitals will be able to handle the upcoming surge of COVID-19 cases. So again... STAY THE EFF HOME! (I'm going to make this into a poster.)

• Hey non-essential businesses who refuse to close and are keeping your employees in danger! THE STATE IS COMING FOR YOU. And when they do, WE (the press) ARE GOING TO PUBLICLY SHAME THE SHIT OUT OF YOU.

• For some reason, this made my jaw drop: Oregon will temporarily allow you to pump your own gas. I DO NOT REMEMBER HOWWWWWWWWW!

• Here's something a lot of people were wondering: With the rash of layoffs at Metro, who's left to take care of the animals at the Oregon Zoo? I called the zoo's director who provided that info.

• Gov. Brown provided the necessary info that Oregon's homeless population is not subject to the "stay indoors" order, and will not be prosecuted or harassed. Our Alex Zielinski has more.

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Gov. Brown and Wieden+Kennedy Release "Stay Home, Save Lives" Ad Campaign

One of a few downloadable posters from the Governors Stay Home, Save Lives campaign.
One of a few downloadable posters from the Governor's "Stay Home, Save Lives" campaign. Governor's Office

In a press release from the governor's office this morning, Governor Kate Brown announced that the state has teamed up with local, internationally respected advertising company Wieden+Kennedy, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and others to produce a series of ads, posters, and videos called the "Stay Home, Save Lives" campaign.

The campaign's intention is to alert Oregonians of the dangers of COVID-19 and to serve as a blunt reminder of the critical importance of staying at home during this crisis. From the press release:

The campaign was created to speak directly to Oregonians across the state about the significance of the COVID-19 health crisis in Oregon, and what they can do to help. It also highlights the essential workers on the front lines of this crisis — such as health care workers, first responders, grocery store employees, and many more — who are working every day to ensure Oregon continues to operate during this crisis.

The campaign includes video intended to be streamed and shared, as well as downloadable posters (such as the one above) for the community to display in windows or yards (Portlanders do love posters!). OHA and other medical providers consulted with the campaign team, offering the harrowing statistics shown in the following video:

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The Mercury Cheer Up Club: Loads of Stuff to Laugh and Smile About!

If these dead flies can have a good time... why cant you?
If these dead flies can have a good time... why can't you? Twitter

HELLOOOOOO FRIDAY! (Wait, does Friday have a purpose anymore? Whatever!) If you need to shake off the blues from a week's worth of garbage news, here is the prescription you need: A bunch of funny, sweet tweets to make you laugh and smile! Have a great weekend and know we give a crap about you!

Today in "Don't put Granny in the back" news:

Today in "We all need to snuggle a potato sometime" news:

Today in "Spelling errors are the last straw!" news:

Today in "Apology accepted" news:

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