Gov Mandates ‘Two-Week’ Pause for Clackamas County

Clackamas County will be included in a “two-week pause” that carries further restrictions on long-term care facilities, restaurants, gyms and other businesses, as well as social gatherings, the governor ordered Monday.

Clackamas was among four counties added to the five already on the list, along with Baker, Union and Washington. Of the counties on Gov. Kate Brown’s watch list for inclusion in the two-week pause, only Linn County avoided the more draconian measures.

The pause measures include halting indoor visits to long-term care facilities; instituting a 50-person maximum capacity in restaurants, including both patrons and staff, and reducing restaurant party sizes to a maximum of six. Outdoor dining and takeout are strongly encouraged.

The pause also limits social gatherings to no more than six people if the gathering includes those from outside your household, as well as keeping the same six people in your social gathering circle.

There will also be a 50-person capacity for recreational venues like gyms, fitness centers, and museums — however, this does not extend to faith-based gatherings.

Jackson, Malheur, Marion, Multnomah and Umatilla counties were already included in the pause, which Brown first announced Friday.

The pause measures take effect in the five counties on Wednesday, Nov. 11, and extends through Nov. 25 — the day before Thanksgiving.

“As we continue to see alarmingly high case rates reflective of sporadic community spread, now is the time to implement measures to further reduce gatherings and curb human contact,” said Brown. “The two-week pause measures are designed to reduce the amount of people we interact with and the frequency of those encounters. We all must continue to do our part to stop this virus from spreading, particularly limiting our social gatherings and interactions, or we risk further closures and restrictions.”

The two-week pause is being instituted in counties with a case rate above 200 per 100,000 people over a two-week period, or more than 60 cases over a two-week period for counties with less than 30,000 people.

The governor said Clackamas and Washington counties are being added to the pause because their case rates are just under the threshold and both counties have experienced significant increases in new cases in recent days.

“We realize that the news of a two-week pause is something Clackamas County residents did not want to hear,” Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard said in a release last Monday. “We understand this is disappointing. But it’s necessary.”

In the release, Bernard, along with County Public Health Officer Dr. Sarah Present, urged Clackamas Countians to “do your part” and “don’t wait.”

“We understand people miss seeing their loved ones, and it’s more challenging to wear a face covering and distance when we are with people we trust,” Present said. “However, we are not going to contact trace or test our way out of this pandemic. The change will come when individual behavior changes collectively – that’s in our control.”

The pause is intended as “a first step” intended to reduce human contact and reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Brown said, characterizing it as a measure intended to avoid even more drastic restrictions.

“This is a wake-up call,” Brown said. “We must stop this virus from spreading. We must preserve our hospital capacity. And we must save lives.”

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