Kate Brown Comments on Stay at Home Policy

The governor explains the executive order requiring Oregonians to be home as much as possible

Governor Kate BrownPhoto by Todd Cooper

Oregonians are now required to stay home as much as possible after Gov. Kate Brown announced an executive stay-at-home order with strict social distancing parameters to combat the spread of COVID-19.

This order effectively closes many nonessential businesses and bars people from meeting in groups unless they stay outside six feet away from one another. It also tells workplaces to allow employees to work from home if at all possible and if it isn’t feasible, to set up proper social distancing measures in the work office.

The mandate follows a weekend where Oregonians were seen gathering at state parks and beaches, despite Brown’s having implored people to stay home. She says she was very frustrated at the lack of responsible social distancing.

“I asked and urged Oregonians to stay home. On Friday night I directed them to stay home and now, I ordered them to stay home,” she said in a March 23 conference call with reporters.

Brown explained that in creating this executive order, she had input from public health officials, local government leaders from all over the state and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health System.

“I wanted to make sure we had an executive order that worked for all of Oregon,” Brown said.

As of now, Brown said she doesn’t know how long the order will be in place, and that they are currently looking at models that can help to figure out a timeline.

Although the order allows for some businesses, including restaurants, to be open, it is only conditional. Brown says if businesses do not comply they will be shut down.

“I’m asking every single Oregonian to do their part. If businesses don’t comply they will be shut down, and if Oregonians don’t comply we will have to take the next step.”

Brown referenced an incident in Pendleton on St. Patricks Day where law enforcement had to close down a bar that was hosting a party after the state had ordered restaurants to move to take out and delivery and forbidding gatherings of more than 25 people. She says this weekend they also had to shut down a party on a beach at Ft. Stevens State Park.

“Our law enforcement needs to be focused on real emergencies across the state,” she said.

While Oregonians are required to stay home, Brown said the state is working on ramping up the testing capacity. They anticipate seeing more numbers of COVID-19 cases in the next days and weeks. As they get supplies, she says they are funneling them at the state level to the local health level.