Coronavirus Update: March 16th

You can read our previous newsletters here.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As your Representative, I am committed to providing you with the most coordinated, up to date information. This crisis is fluid and continues to change rapidly. As the crisis unfolds, the number of cases will increase, and its impact will affect all of us. I have been coordinating with local officials, the Governor’s office, and state and local agencies to provide you with all the information I can. I will be sending out emails and posting online to continually pass on updated information as I receive it. 

We know that the coronavirus can spread unknowingly, even if you are only experiencing mild symptoms or are not experiencing symptoms at all. With this in mind, it is important that all Oregonians of all ages and health status commit to strict social distancing guidelines.

Our community is stronger when it acts together. As your neighbor and fellow Oregonian, I know we will support each other through this unprecedented and uncertain time. It is imperative that we slow the spread of the virus to maintain hospital capacity and protect our healthcare and front line workers as well as our most vulnerable communities.

New Developments

  • All restaurants, bars, and places that serve food or beverages will close, with the exception of takeout and delivery services. All on site consumption must stop. This goes into effect on March 17th for four weeks. 
  • Other businesses are urged to evaluate whether they can do business with a “takeout” style operation. If they cannot, the Governor urges them to close.
  • The ban on gatherings remains, and the threshold is reduced to 25 people. Furthermore, it is recommended that Oregonians in high risk categories limit gatherings to ten people. 
  • The state is instituting two command centers:
    • COVID - 19 Healthcare System Response Joint Task Force: a coordinated effort of all regional health systems in the metro area to effectively address a surge in cases and ensure hospital capacity, and hospital bed and medical supply availability.
    • Unified Command Emergency Response: this is a central command structure put in place many years ago for statewide emergencies. All emergency workers and managers have trained within this structure. 
  • A Coronavirus Economic Response Council convenes tomorrow. The goal of this council is to reduce the impact of coronavirus on our economy, assist Oregon businesses and ensure Oregon workers can pay their rent and buy essential goods. The Council will develop plans to secure necessary funding from the federal government and the state legislature.

Best Practices

  • Whatever your age, medical status, or if you are feeling well, you need to stay home at all costs and practice social distancing to protect yourself and our community. 
  • Latest evidence shows that we are extremely contagious before we begin showing symptoms, and it is likely that many of us are carriers of the virus already.
  • Social distancing is more than just staying home from work and school, it means limiting your contact with others, including friends, family and neighbors.  This means no playdates, no dinner parties, and only essential trips to grocery stores and pharmacies. 
  • We need to be leveraging our creativity and technology in order to remain socially engaged and active while we practice social isolation.  This might mean video calls with friends and family, online workout videos for exercise, and more. Share your activities on social media to give others ideas and to stay engaged in your community from a distance.  We are all in this together! 
  • As always: wash your hands and clean shared surfaces and phones regularly!

Employment Resources

As part of the Governor’s emergency response, the Coronavirus Economic Advisory Council is convening for the first time tomorrow. Their goals are to create a statewide plan to address the economic impact of the coronavirus on Oregon’s small businesses and workers. More information will be available in the coming days. Here are some resources already in place:

  • Workshare: if your business has had to reduce your employees’ hours by 20-40 percent, you may be eligible for this unemployment program.
  • Business Oregon: find resources for loans or grants to help your small business
  • For Oregon Unemployment Department information and resources, click here.

If you are a small business owner, and you can quantify the losses you experience related to COVID 19, please share your story and figures with my office, at  This will be valuable information and data as we seek federal funds for economic relief.

Homelessness Response

I have been in contact with the Tri-County Chairs, to coordinate a response to protect Oregonians experiencing homelessness. We are discussing a variety of policies in collaboration with both cities and counties. We are going to come together to create a plan, and I will be able to update you on that soon.  

Statewide, the Healthcare System Response Task Force is immediately looking at ways to provide healthcare to Oregonians without homes. An update about their decisions will be coming soon. Here is what we know so far:

  • The limit of 25 people gatherings does not apply to shelters
  • Guidance has been issued to shelters about safe distancing, but this will necessarily reduce the capacity of existing shelters
  • The emergency response team is working with our shelter system to determine ways to increase our number of beds, while maintaining appropriate distance
  • OHCS has let their shelter network know that they have freed up $3.3m to extend winter shelters until the end of the month

People experiencing homelessness are encouraged to contact Washington County’s coordinated entry system – Community Connect – to access available housing and services. More information on Community Connect is available online or by phone, 503-640-3263.

School Provided Meals

  •  In Forest Grove, breakfast will be served between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. Lunch between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm. These meals will be provided free of charge. More information for Forest Grove schools can be found here.
  • For schools in the Hillsboro School District, meal distributions times at the individual school sites are 10 a.m. for elementary school students, 11 a.m. for middle school students, and 12 p.m. for high school students. Find your school site here.

Please reach out to my office at  if you have any questions or concerns. I am confident that together (but socially distant), we can navigate this uncertain time.

Yours truly,

Representative Susan McLain

Representative Susan McLain
House District 29

email: I phone: 503-986-1429
address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301