Oregon Gov. Kate Brown urged Oregonians to “stay home, stay healthy,” in a Friday night press conference in order to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Brown said the measure is both an order and a public awareness campaign, but it is unclear where one stops and the other begins.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said this is not “shelter in place,” which he said is a confusing term that makes people think of a lockdown. People will still be allowed to go to the doctor, grocery store and other essential services, as well as spend time outdoors.
Few details are available, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he, Brown and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury will work on the specifics over the weekend and announce more details on Monday.
Brown said she is not planning on making any new statewide orders at this time. Wheeler said Portland is prepared to act independently, but would prefer to act more broadly. “Pandemic flu knows no boundaries, certainly knows no jurisdictional boundaries,” Wheeler said.
Kafoury said the state needs to act as one voice to avoid confusion.
“Social distancing, done well and done early, saves lives,” Brown said. She said these measures will help flatten the curve and stop the spread of the virus.
This order comes after California, Illinois and New York put in place mandatory social distancing earlier this week. Calls for shelter in place have increased in Oregon, including support from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. But Brown said Thursday that shelter in place was not necessary yet.
“Every single action we take has an impact in this new reality of living with COVID-19, we are truly all in this together,” Brown said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a developing story. Watch the Emerald’s coverage for the latest updates.