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Malheur County, already facing limits on community activities, will have to forgo going to restaurants and bars and further limit gatherings under new statewide restrictions announced Friday by Gov. Kate Brown to address surging Covid infections across Oregon.
Brown reacted after the state on Thursday for the first time exceeded 1,000 new reported infections, with a total of 1,112.
The latest tightening of rules takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, and lasts through Wednesday, Dec. 2.
The changes will profoundly impact the Thanksgiving holiday as Brown and governors in California and Washington also recommended people stop interstate and international travel for anything but essential trips.
The new statewide restrictions include:
• Limit social gatherings to no more than six people and from no more than two households.
• Restaurants and bars can only provide take-out service.
• Grocery stories and pharmacies are limited to 75% of their capacity and curbside pickup is being encouraged. Other retail stores face the same limit.
• Venues that host events either indoors or outdoors must close.
• Museums and indoor entertainment sites must close.
Businesses are now required to mandate working from home and closing offices to the public.
State officials have said that informal gatherings, such as birthdays and weddings, have been driving the surge in Covid infections. They say people who aren’t evidently sick who attend such events are unwittingly infecting others at the event, who in turn take the coronavirus to their homes and work places.
The new rules don’t change anything with how schools can operate and doesn’t apply to businesses operating under earlier restrictions, such as barbers and hair dressers.
The latest numbers on Covid in Malheur County as of Tuesday, Nov. 10, from the Malheur County Health Department. (The Enterprise graphic)
Contact Editor Les Zaitz by email at [email protected]