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'!)
• As per Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury in this afternoon's press conference (watch the whole thing here), don't expect the county to reopen anytime soon, or even to apply for it in the immediate future, at least not until there's an increase in funding for PPE and hiring contact tracers. Our Blair Stenvick has more.
• Gov. Kate Brown announced late Wednesday that—whether or not their counties were approved for Phase One reopening—individual retail stores closed due to the Stay-At-Home order can re-open on Friday May 15, provided they meet prescribed social distancing and safety standards. This does not apply to malls and indoor/outdoor shopping centers.
• Of the 33 counties that applied to re-open, 31 were approved to enter Phase One, including Lane County (Eugene), Jackson County (Medford), and Deschutes County (Bend). Marion and Polk counties were the only two to have their application denied.
• Speaking of Bend, DID YOU KNOW: The Last Blockbuster on Earth is still open there? Vice recently talked to its general manager about the lengths she's gone to to keep Bend's video store shelves stocked, and her employees paid.
• In a much less heartwarming story, Kroger, Fred Meyer's parent company, will cease giving employees hazard pay on May 17. Said a spokesperson for United Food Worker and Commercial Workers United Local 555, "It's pretty insulting for Fred Meyer to cancel hazard pay when the hazard's not over." Our Blair Stenvick has more.
• The week-to-week jobless numbers (14,000 new claims) are still declining, but the overall total continues to look bleak as all hell: Just under 400,000 Oregonians have applied for unemployment benefits in the past eight weeks—and the number of those yet to even be processed is over 53,000.
IN NATIONAL NEWS
• Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled that careful and cautious reopening procedures aren't necessary in their state, and gave businesses the green light to reopen immediately, which led to Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers warning of "massive confusion" ensuing.
• Today in "I volunteered to be one of the inevitable second wave's very first casualties and all I got was this overpriced tall can of White Claw:"
• Our idiot president keeping things in perspective while talking about increasing mask production: "Look, there's nothing good about what happened with the plague, OK — especially the death — but the one thing is, it said, 'Trump was right,'"
• Also our idiot president: Tours a mask distribution center in Pennsylvania, and doesn't wear a face-mask... again.
• The final chapter in today's idiot president trilogy: Former GlaxoSmithKline executive Moncef Slaoui and General Gustave Pena were charged with heading up a vaccine development task force called "Operation Warp Speed." According to our idiot president, "I think we're going to have a vaccine by the end of the year, and I think distribution will take place almost simultaneously because we've geared up the military." Nobody seems to know what "geared up the military" means in this context, and no clarification was forthcoming.
• Look, you're stuck inside, creative, going nuts, and need money, right? Then enter your short confinement-themed film in the Confinement (online) Film Festival, better known as CoFF! BUT HURRY! The deadline for submissions is THIS FRIDAY, MAY 15! And be sure to get your tickets to the CoFF festival debuting on May 22!
• Want to support the Mercury and make your walls snazzier? Buy a Mercury Cover Poster! They're gorgeous, a real conversation starter, and will keep your favorite media source humming. But after this Friday they're gone forever, so snap 'em up!
• And finally: Hey, ESPN, where the hell is our 10-part documentary on this, huh?