Gov. Kate Brown has given Clackamas County the green light to begin reopening its restaurants, bars, salons, gyms, and all retail businesses as early as Saturday, May 23.
This means that Clackamas has met all the Phase 1 requirements laid out in Brown's framework for lifting the March restrictions placed on Oregon businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Clackamas County sent in an application requesting Brown's permission to enter Phase 1 of this process on Thursday. The application shows that Clackamas County has met the key prerequisites of Brown's plan, including a consistent 14-day decline in hospital admissions related to COVID-19, the ability to swiftly test for COVID-19, sufficient supplies of protective equipment, available hospital beds, and expanded hiring of contract tracing staff to investigate positive COVID-19 cases.
Brown's approval allows most businesses to reopen, as long as they adhere to certain criteria. For bars and restaurants, that means ensuring tables are spaced at least six feet apart and closing at 10 pm. For salons, spas, and tattoo parlors, that means businesses must maintain a customer log of all clients and keep six feet between each customer. This approval also allows groups of 25 people or more to gather, as long as they remain at least six feet apart.
This makes Washington and Multnomah counties the only Oregon counties that haven't entered Phase 1 of Brown's framework since she began accepting applications in early May. According to reporting by the Oregonian, nearly half of the Oregon counties that have reopened have been unable to meet public health benchmarks they need to meet to remain open. At least five counties have seen a resurgence of COVID-19.
Washington County requested Brown's approval for Phase 1 reopening earlier this week, but Brown has yet to announce her response. Multnomah County has no immediate plans to make this request.
Here's Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard addressing the news: