December News and Updates

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Representative Smith Warner


We are now following new COVID-19 guidelines after last week’s conclusion of the 2-Week Freeze. I know it’s a lot of changes to keep track of, but as public health experts, scientists, and medical professionals continue to learn more about how this virus spreads, their recommendations evolve so that we can better protect ourselves and our communities. Please continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Below, you will find more information about the governor’s new health and safety framework, important updates and supportive resources for business owners.

New Covid-19 Health and Safety Framework

Oregon is introducing a new framework of safety measures based on each county’s COVID-19 risk level. The new framework has four risk levels. At each risk level — Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk — health and safety measures and guidance for businesses and individuals apply. Oregon counties that reduce their COVID-19 risk level in coming weeks and months will be able to incrementally move to lower levels. Currently, Multnomah County falls into the “Extreme Risk.” Guidelines include:

  • Outdoor dining will be allowed, with new guidelines and restrictions
  • Retail stores will be limited to 50% of capacity
  • Indoor faith gatherings are restricted to max 25% capacity or 100 total (whichever is smaller), 150 outdoor
  • Indoor and outdoor social and at-home gatherings will continue to be restricted to 6 people max, with a recommended limit of 2 households
  • Comprehensive Guidance on Activities 

Oregon Health Authority Update

The Oregon Health Authority reports up-to-date information regarding testing statistics that can be found on their website. You can review the daily update and read the weekly report that details the overall picture of the COVID-19 response across government agencies. Here are some recent developments from OHA:

  • The Oregon Health Authority’s latest modeling shows a projected increase in COVID-19 cases. According to the model, the effective reproduction rate – the expected number of secondary cases that a single case generates – was estimated to be 1.25, as of Nov. 19, one day after the statewide freeze was enacted.

  • The current level of transmission could generate “exponential” growth, resulting in approximately 2,000 new daily cases and 75 additional daily hospitalizations by Dec. 24.

  • If the spread of COVID-19 reached the levels from mid-October, new daily cases could reach 2,700 and patients needing hospitalization would increase to 110 per day.

Housing Assistance

I have  heard from many of you who are concerned about the rental eviction moratorium being lifted at the end of this month. It is critical for so many Oregonians that we come together to ensure everyone is able to keep a roof over their heads. I am working hard with my colleagues right now to make sure we support individuals and property owners before eviction and foreclosure moratoriums come to an end. Facing both a pandemic and an economic downturn, Oregonians should not have to face the additional stress of potentially losing their homes. I, along with many of my colleagues in the House, have advocated for a special session to address these pressing issues. If you are a homeowner or a tenant in need of financial assistance, I encourage you to utilize the resources below:

New Grant Available for Restaurants

Licensed restaurants and food carts in Multnomah County can begin applying for small business grants to offset the cost of restrictions from COVID-19. The County will begin distributing more than $7.6 million in CARES Act funds to businesses impacted by efforts to slow the spread of the virus. The County is making grants available to restaurants, food carts, and bed and breakfasts with five or fewer operator licenses. The funds are part of $55 million in business assistance grants that will be administered by Oregon counties to help small businesses. Applications are due Dec. 15. If you are interested in applying, click here.

Supporting One Another 

Multnomah County has created a helpful webpage  for those looking to give back this holiday season. The webpage includes ways to support local businesses, opportunities to donate to  nonprofits that are providing critical, life-saving services to our neighbors who are struggling, as well as information on how to donate winter gear or volunteer at a severe weather shelter.

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Coronavirus Response Information:

Employment/Business/Consumer Information:

Health/Housing/Human Services Information:

  • Oregon Health Plan (available year round)
  • The Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741741
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline (English and Spanish) - 800-799-7233
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • SEIU’s website, connects Oregonians to services and provides tips on what to have ready to apply for Unemployment Insurance, SNAP (food stamps), OHP or other health coverage, Employer Related Child Care, and Housing Services
  • PDX Assist Application
    This Thursday, December 10, Portlanders struggling from health or financial impacts of COVID-19 will have the opportunity to apply for $500 in cash assistance through a City of Portland program to help households pay for urgent needs such as food, dependent care, medicine, rent and utilities, and transportation.

Please reach out to my office if you have any additional questions, or if there’s anything you think I could help with. 



Representative Barbara Smith Warner
House District 45

email: I phone: 503-986-1445
address: 900 Court St NE, H-295, Salem, OR 97301