Oregon is back — and open for business.
That was the message at a reopening celebration at Providence Park in Portland Wednesday morning, as Governor Kate Brown hosted health care workers, frontline employees, personnel from state agencies critical to Covid-19 response, state and county leaders, Tribal leaders, Oregon National Guard members, housing advocates, farmworkers, educators and nonprofit volunteers — thanking them for their service and dedication throughout the pandemic.
The event commemorated the lifting of all remaining Covid-19 health and safety restrictions in Oregon, which was effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. That meant all restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, event venues and other businesses can reopen at 100% capacity for the first time in 473 days.
It also marks the end of the statewide mask mandate in most places, with face coverings still being required only in places like public transit, hospitals, airports and long-term care facilities. Businesses may have stricter requirements for their customers or employees.
Many businesses and workplaces in Canby appeared to have lifted or loosened their mask rules by Wednesday — if they had not done so already.
“Today, we celebrate Oregon’s strength, resilience, and collaboration,” said Governor Brown. “We celebrate brighter days ahead. And, today we celebrate that Oregon is 100% open for business. … Thank you, Oregon, for everything you’ve done to look out for one another and bring us to this day.”
While reopening gives many reasons to be joyful, the event also acknowledged the immense loss and grief that many continue to experience as a result of the pandemic.
“In Oregon, we’ve lost 2,770 family, friends, neighbors and coworkers who died with Covid-19,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. “If we took just one minute to honor each person we’ve lost, we’d stand a vigil that would last more than 46 hours.”
The event also included remarks by OHSU Infectious Disease Specialist Doctor Judy Guzman-Cottrill, Meyer Memorial Trust Chief Investment Officer Ruikayah Adams, and Ricky Gomez, owner of Palomar in southeast Portland.
“I look forward to seeing Oregon’s restaurants and Main Street businesses flourish as vibrant community cornerstones,” the governor said. “We are all excited to celebrate the July Fourth holiday weekend with family and friends. And I smile at the thought of our children going back to the classroom, five days a week this fall.”
While acknowledging the “historic moment,” the state’s work is far from over, Brown said.
“We will be relentless in our efforts to finish the job, closing our equity gaps, and reaching every Oregonian with information and vaccines,” she said. “That means we need to continue this education effort, person to person, neighbor to neighbor. We remain fiercely committed in our efforts to build a more just and equitable, and a safer and stronger Oregon.”
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