Governor Kate Brown has announced new mandates to help slow the surge of the COVID-19 in Oregon.
“Today we are sounding the alarm because we are at risk of allowing the virus to spiral out of control," Brown said during a morning press briefing Monday, July 13.
The governor announced that she is banning all indoor social gatherings of 10 people or more and that she is expanding the use of face masks to outdoor areas where a person cannot maintain six feet of social distancing.
Brown said the mandate on social gatherings would not change business at retail and churches at this time, but she stressed that if the new mandates don't slow the surge of virus, she would take further steps.
"I am not going to set up the party police," Brown said.
But Brown said the widespread indoor social gatherings, like house parties, are putting everyone at risk.
Brown said that failure to comply with the new requirements would lead to more outbreaks of COVID-19 and more restrictive closures with greater impact on Oregon’s economies, communities, health care systems, and families.
It is unclear just how the state would enforce the new social gathering mandate. However, Brown did say that the state would take action against businesses not following the already in place social distancing requirements.
"For those businesses not following the rules, there will be serious consequences," she said.
Fines and ultimately closing down businesses not protecting their customers is possible, according to Brown, who said the state is working closely with businesses, retailers and others to help everyone understand the need for the requirements.
Brown said that everyone in the state needs to work to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.
"People need to be a positive force," Brown said, "or I will have to take other measures, and no one wants that."
When it comes to the next steps if the virus continues to spread, Brown said all options are on the table, including closing businesses again.
"I am asking all Oregonians to take personal responsibility to wear face coverings, limit indoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer in social distancing and wash, wash your hands" she said.
The outdoor face covering and limit of social gathering mandates take effect Wednesday, July 15.
COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 237, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The OHA reported 280 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, July 13, bringing the state total to 12,438.
Columbia County now reports a total of 57 COVID-19 cases and still no deaths related to the virus as of Monday, July 13.
The new cases statewide are in the following counties: Clackamas (20), Columbia (6), Coos (2), Gilliam (1), Hood River (2), Jackson (3), Klamath (1), Lane (4), Linn (1), Malheur (27), Marion (36), Morrow (9), Multnomah (82), Polk (2), Umatilla (28), Wallowa (1), Washington (47), and Yamhill (8).