Labor Day weekend marks critical moment to prevent outbreaks at beginning of school year
Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown today extended her declaration of a state of emergency
regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until November 3, 2020. The declaration is the legal underpinning for the Governor’s COVID-19 executive orders and the Oregon Health Authority’s health and safety guidance. The Governor reviews and reevaluates her emergency orders every 60 days. She issued the following statement:
“When I last extended the COVID-19 state of emergency in June, I told Oregonians that we were at a crossroads: we could work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon, or we could watch infections and hospitalizations spike.
“Now, six months after this crisis began, we have made progress. Together, we have slowed the spread of this disease. Oregon has one of the lowest mortality rates in the country. But, as students across Oregon begin a school year far different than any other before, it is clear that, at current COVID-19 levels, it will not be safe in much of the state for children to return to in-classroom instruction for months to come.
“This Labor Day weekend is another critical moment in this crisis.
“We can work together to stay safe and put Oregon on the path to return more students to classrooms. Or, we could see Labor Day celebrations unknowingly sow the seeds of COVID-19 outbreaks that could set us back for months. Until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19, this disease can spread like wildfire if we let our guard down.
“Small social get-togethers like barbecues and family celebrations have fueled wider community outbreaks in counties across Oregon. This weekend, you have a choice. Please, stay local this Labor Day, and practice safe COVID-19 habits. Wear a face covering, watch your physical distance, and wash your hands.
“We know this can work. We have seen it work in rural and urban communities that have experienced significant outbreaks. Last week, Multnomah and Hood River counties came off the Watch List. All we need now is the will to follow this through to the end.
“We have come this far together. And that’s the only way we’ll get through this––working together, day by day, to keep each other healthy and safe until we reach the day that there is an effective vaccine or treatment for this disease.”
The state of emergency declaration is the legal underpinning for the executive orders the Governor has issued to keep Oregonians healthy and safe throughout this crisis, including her orders on reopening Oregon while maintaining essential health and safety protections, as well as orders around childcare, schools, and higher education operations. Extending the state of emergency declaration allows those orders to stay in effect.
The Governor reviews and reevaluates each of her emergency orders every 60 days, to determine whether those orders should be continued, modified, or rescinded. The findings of this review process are listed in the executive order.