SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown on Friday, July 3, announced stepped up enforcement statewide on face covering, physical distancing and occupancy standards for businesses.
Staff from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, with support from Oregon Occupational Safety and Health field offices, will conduct spot checks and inspections across Oregon during the holiday weekend to ensure restaurants, bars other businesses and their patrons comply with state alcohol laws, OLCC rules, and the requirement to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, according to the press release from the governor's office.
The action comes after the state reached a record of 375 new cases of COVID-19 July 2. The Oregon Health Authority on July 3 reported 344 new cases statewide, including 49 more in Umatilla County, bring the county's total to 667.
Morrow County had 10 more cases reported, bringing the county’s total to 82.
Brown added Umatilla and Morrow counties to a watchlist for COVID-19 along with six more counties: Union, Jefferson, Lake, Lincoln, Malheur and Wasco.
"The spread of COVID-19 in these counties has risen to alarming levels in recent weeks," according to the press release. "Analysis by the Oregon Health Authority showed alarmingly high per capita rates of case increases and community spread — cases where the infections are not attributable to a specific location or event. This community spread is a serious warning sign for health experts."
"I am asking Oregonians this holiday weekend to take urgent steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, avoiding large gatherings and physically distancing," Brown said in the press release. "And state enforcement agencies will be out in force to ensure businesses are in compliance. Those businesses not complying with gathering size limits, face covering requirements, physical distancing rules, and other standards face stiff penalties."
State agencies will monitor counties on the watch list in the coming days while the Oregon Health Authority and local officials deploy additional resources to control the spread of the disease.
Businesses that refuse to comply face fines and harsher penalties.
OSHA and OLCC staff have the authority to take administrative action, according to the press release, including issuing citations, fines and "Red Warning Notices," which apply to businesses that appear to be in "willful violation" of the governor’s executive orders or that refuse to take corrective measures.