Governor Brown approved Baker County’s Reopening Plan today, allowing some of the restrictions enacted under Governor Brown’s Stay Home Save Lives Executive Order 20-12 to begin lifting on May 15. The updated Reopening Plan is available on the Baker County COVID-19 website, www.bakercountycovid19.com, along with reopening guidance for businesses from the Oregon Health Authority.
Commissioner Mark Bennett said, “Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to keep our community safe and get to where county businesses can reopen their doors. We still have a long way to go before we can fully reopen. Please continue the efforts to protect our health and our business’ vitality, because our community depends on both.”
The state COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians website, www.coronavirus.oregon.gov, explains that Phase 1 of the Reopening Oregon Plan allows limited reopening, under specific safety guidelines, of restaurants and bars for sit-down service; personal care and services businesses, including barbers and salons; and in-person gatherings of up to 25 people. Counties must remain in Phase I and continue to meet the state criteria for at least 21 days before becoming eligible to advance to Phase II. If counties begin to see significant increases in COVID-19 cases or community spread, the Oregon Health Authority will work with local public health officials to evaluate what actions should be taken. Significant growth in COVID-19 spread could necessitate a county moving back from Phase I to a stay-home status. More details on Phases II and III are forthcoming.
In order to be approved to enter Phase 1, Baker County had to demonstrate that there have been fewer than 5 hospitalizations for COVID-19, medical providers and public health have sufficient COVID-19 testing capabilities and the ability to provide quick ‘contact tracing’ for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, have established plans for isolating and quarantining new cases, have sufficient hospital capacity to handle a surge in cases, and have enough personal protective equipment for health care workers. Baker County was found to meet all of these criteria.
The Baker County Business Operations and Recovery group is reaching out to businesses to provide information, resources and assistance for owners preparing to reopen. The group has held conference calls with each business sector this week. Anyone who would like to be added to the mailing list can visit the business page at www.bakercountycovid19.com or call 541-523-0015.
As customers return to local businesses, many things may be different as businesses put precautions in place to reduce the chance for spread of the virus, such as asking customers to wear a face covering, sanitize their hands upon entering, and maintain 6 feet of spacing between patrons. County officials ask the community to remain patient through these changes in order to stay safe and stop the spread while supporting local businesses. Businesses and customers with questions are encouraged to contact Business Liaison Jeff Nelson at 541-523-0015.