More COVID-19 Cases, New Restrictions

Gov. Kate Brown enacts indoor gathering ban and masks for outdoors rule

Screenshot from Gov. Kate Brown's July 13 press conference

On Monday, July 13, Gov. Kate Brown announced new restrictions to cut down on the recent upward trend of COVID-19 cases in Oregon. She said more could come if the virus continues to spread.

The governor said she’s enacting two new restrictions to combat the virus: a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and requirements for wearing face-coverings outdoors when it’s not possible to have a six-foot distance.

“We’ve reported more cases in the past week than in the entire month of May,” Brown said.

She added that one-third of all cases have been people under the age of 30.

“Today we’re sounding the alarm because we’re at risk of the virus spiraling out of control,” she said. “It’s what we’re seeing in Texas, Florida and Arizona.” Those states have been epicenters of “reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row.”

As of Monday, July 13, Lane County has 309 positive cases, 81 more than last week. As of now, the data suggests no positive cases have spread at public protests.

Brown’s indoor gathering clampdown is focused more on potlucks and book clubs; gatherings like church services are excluded. The state won’t enforce the indoor ban through policing, but if COVID-19 continues to spread in Oregon, there will be more restrictions.

“I’m not going to set up the party police,” the governor said. “Either people will adhere and be a positive force or I will be forced to take more restrictive measures.

As of now, Brown said restaurants that have been enforcing face coverings have not been a source of virus transmission so shutting down those businesses isn’t being considered right now. But she added that if Oregon goes down the route of Texas of California, nothing will be off the table to slow the spread.

“The virus is much tougher to beat than we wanted,” Brown said.