When Malheur County is approved to phase in some openings, life will change. Here is what state and county officials say will now be allowed.

Some restrictions remain in place. No visiting allowed at nursing homes or other care facilities. Large events are off the calendar for now.

For this first phase in Malheur County, here’s what you will be able to do:

Go out to eat

• This won’t be your usual dining experience.

• No more than 10 people can be seated together in a single party.

• Dining parties will have to be seated at least six feet apart.

• There will be no salad bar. There will be packets for condiments.

• And you’ll have to clear out by 10 p.m.

At this point, it’s probably best to call ahead for a reservation if you want to sit down and eat to be sure you get in.

Danny Moore, owner of the Plaza Barber Shop in Ontario, gives Lowell Davis of Fruitland a haircut. (The Enterprise/File)

Get your hair cut or nails done

• This is going to look and feel different.

• There will be no just popping in. Appointments will be required.

•And you’ll be quizzed about a cough, fever, shortness of breath or contact with anyone infected with COVID-19.

• The barber or hairdresser or nail technician will have to wear a mask. You’ll be encouraged to do so.

•You’ll have to wash your hands before getting any treatment and you’ll have to be at least six feet away from others. The spacing requirement may cut down the number of customers some establishments can handle at one time.

And if you have to wait for your appointment? You’ll be outside, in your car or otherwise. No more gabbing while browsing a magazine or newspaper (which are to be gone anyway).

Go work out

• You can go lift weights, use a treadmill or otherwise get fit at the gym or fitness center.

Note, though, that it may be quieter than usual. Such operations have to keep people six feet apart, meaning they may limit how many people can be inside at any one point.

Gather in a group

• Under state rules, you can have a social gathering now, but it has to be 25 people or less.

• The condition, though, is that social distancing is required, which means spacing people six feet apart.

• Malheur County officials are recommending that such gatherings still be avoided.

What’s not clear is the change for churches. The state earlier provided guidance that churches could hold services for fewer than 25 people – if social distancing were observed. State officials strongly discouraged such gatherings and most churches complied.

Now, it appears churches are under less pressure to avoid services as long as they keep the count under 25. Still, that means services could proceed with people sitting no less than six feet apart.

Go to the park, but limit travel

• You can go have a picnic in local parks, but you can’t use picnic shelters and playgrounds are still off limits.

• You’ll have to stick to a cozy group – no more than 10 people at any one gathering. So, the big family reunions with aunts and uncles from all over are still on hold.

• Some sports will be back – but not if they involve contact. So, pick-up basketball games at the neighborhood park are still a no-no.

• Skate parks are back in business but water parks and pools that tend to draw people together and in packs are still supposed to be closed.

• Some state parks are opening, but only for day use and no overnight camping. The state is urging people to still stick close to home and avoid leisure travel farther than 50 miles from home.

Go shopping

• So, all retailers can open up. But plan on a new experience even at places that have been going strong such as grocers and hardware stores.

• Now, the clerk helping you find that pipe fitting or the granola will have to be wearing a mask.

•And stores have to figure out how many people can be inside safely to still keep everyone six feet apart. That means those lines outside stores like Home Depot could become more common at smaller retailers with less space.

• Stores also may require you to wear a mask to get inside, but that’s not a state mandate.


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