May Updates and Re-Opening Oregon

Senator Ginny Burdick

Re-Opening Oregon and May Updates

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

The first thing I want to say is - thank you.

Oregon’s coronavirus hospitalizations hit a new low. In addition, over 70,000 infections have been prevented thanks to your dedication and commitment to safety precautions. Thank you to those who continue to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe through physical distancing. Thank you to our dedicated frontline workers who continue to make certain we have what we need to stay as safe as possible. This is the Oregon way. We take care of one another and we cannot stop now. As we begin discussions to re-open safely, we must stay committed so we can continue to save lives.

State Updates - May

This first week of May has been a busy one at the state level. Below are just a few of the updates from the past seven days:

Re-Opening Oregon

Yesterday, Governor Brown announced her decision to allow some counties to begin entering Phase One of her Re-Opening Oregon plan. Beginning May 15, eligible counties may start the limited re-opening of certain business sectors if they have demonstrated they meet all the prerequisites. Counties may begin submitting applications today, May 8. The prerequisites for Phase One reopening can be found here. If successful applicants do not see a worsening of coronavirus cases for 21 days, that county may then move to Phase Two.

Keep in mind, the virus sets the timeline, not us. If counties begin to see new surges in coronavirus cases during re-opening phases, they may be required to go back a phase or to return to the stricter stay at home orders. Details are still forthcoming but Oregon plans to go through this process gradually, in increments and based on science and data. 

Phase I criteria


State Parks and Other Recreational Activities

On May 6, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) announced a small number of state parks that would re-open for day use. They have also said that day use will slowly return to other state parks beginning the week of May 11. Re-opening of these parks will be based on the readiness of the community around the park to welcome visitors, and how prepared the park is with staff, supplies and equipment. Visit this link to find out more about which parks are beginning to open as well as community guidelines for social distancing in day-use recreation areas.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) also updated notices on hunting and fishing, including guidance on Columbia River salmon/steelhead fishing, updated guidance for hunters during the pandemic and the upcoming opening of the halibut season on May 21. Please visit this link to stay up-to-date with news on hunting and fishing activities during the pandemic.

Non-Emergency Medical Procedures

On April 27, the Governor announced a new Executive Order on re-opening medical, dental and veterinary offices to elective and non-emergency procedures beginning May 1. In order to re-open, medical, dental and veterinary offices need to follow strict infection control guidelines from the CDC. There also must be enough personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, masks and gowns, to last for two weeks without needing to put emergency PPE-conserving measures in place. Facilities able to meet these guidelines have been able to slowly ramp up in-office patient care while carefully following state and federal safety guidance for both people and pets.

We know that many Oregonians have taken advantage of this time by fostering or adopting pets. With the reopening of veterinary offices, you may now have your pets spayed and neutered. Furthermore, be sure to include your pets in your COVID-19 planning – if you need some advice, check out this FAQ from the Oregon Humane Society.

State of Emergency vs. Stay at Home Order

On May 1, Governor Brown issued a new Executive Order to extend Oregon’s State of Emergency through July 6. This is not the same as the Stay Home order. The State of Emergency allows the Governor to maintain current Executive Orders, like the moratorium on evictions and limits on gatherings. It also allows state agencies to waive rules or adopt temporary ones as necessary in response to the crisis. The order may be lifted at any time.

Western States Pact

A little over two weeks ago, Governor Brown announced that Oregon joined in a Western States Pact with Washington and California to ensure sharing of information and best practices. The Pact also established open communication between our states and will continue to take into consideration our connected economies, industries and values. This past week, Colorado and Nevada joined the Western States Pact, adding more expertise and perspective to our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and recover from this crisis.


Key to Oregon

Key to Oregon

Governor Kate Brown announced Friday a partnership with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU)  called “Key to Oregon.” You can view her statements with links to the specific plan here or visit the website. The partnership's study will seek to better understand the coronavirus’s infection patterns with testing and precise, real-time mapping. It will also gather essential information to help Oregon’s leaders at the state and local levels make informed decisions around re-opening plans and infection prevention. The study will include attention to vulnerable communities, including Native Americans and people of color. The goal is to get people back to school and work faster while avoiding a second wave of infections.

We are fortunate to have OHSU in Senate District 18 and we thank them for their dedication and leadership during this pandemic.

Next Week

Be on the lookout next week for a newsletter focusing entirely on unemployment. We know that many of you still are having trouble reaching the Oregon Employment Department. This newsletter will include the updates that the Department is making to respond to over 300,000 claims as well as other helpful information. 

If you have missed any of my previous newsletters, they can be found here. For any additional questions or concerns that these newsletters are not addressing, please reach out to my office so that we may continue to be a resource for you.

Yours in Sequestration, 

GB signature

Senator Ginny Burdick 
Senate Majority Leader
District 18

email: I phone: 503-986-1718
address: 900 Court St NE, S-223, Salem, OR, 97301


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