Gov. Kate Brown gives press conference Thursday

Courtesy of The Oregonian

Lane County is among the 28 Oregon counties that are eligible to begin phase one of reopening their economies, Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday. The move is the first step in easing social distancing orders meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions eased on restaurants, bars, barbershops and salons, gyms and in-person gatherings, however, businesses must follow the following guidelines to ensure the coronavirus isn’t spread among clients or staff.

Among other requirements,

  • Restaurants and Bars must:

    • Maintain social distancing of at least six feet between tables

    • Limit parties to a maximum of 10 people

    • Require all employees to wear face coverings

    • Cease onsite consumption by 10 p.m.

  • Barbershops and Salons must:

    • See customers by appointment only

    • Screen customers with questions about their health before seeing them

    • Record client lists with contact information, appointment dates and times, etc. in case contact tracers need to reach out to clients

  • Gyms must:

    • Limit gatherings

    • Close all showers and pools

    • Adhere to a thorough sanitation regimen

  • In-person gatherings:

    • Can be groups of up to 25 for any reason

The University of Oregon remains subject to the governor’s executive order barring in-person instruction and activities until June 13. Meanwhile, the university is making plans for a “methodical and phased return to in-person work,” according to an email sent to students shortly after the press conference. The email also said that UO expects to receive guidance from the OHA in the coming weeks.

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Though Lane County is entering phase one of reopening, residents should remain cautious in their activities. “Our personal practices every day will either slow the virus or spread it,” Director of the Oregon Health Authority Pat Allen said

Brown announced on May 7 that Oregon counties could apply to begin reopening if they met seven guidelines, including a 14-day decline in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, having 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents and having the capacity to issue 30 tests per week per 100,000 residents. Lane County submitted its application the day after Brown’s announcement.

Related: “Gov. Brown announces new guidelines for reopening Oregon

Counties must spend three weeks in phase one while maintaining the seven guidelines before applying to enter phase two, according to the state’s reopening website. During phase two, Oregonians will have the option of returning to work in offices and limited visitation to nursing homes.

Brown didn’t rule out returning to the strict stay-at-home orders that have been in place since March 23. The governor compared reopening to walking on an icy lake: “You have to make sure the ice is solid, and if it’s not, you have to go back,” she said.