May 14, 2020
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
The Klamath County Commissioners are pleased to announce the acceptance, by Oregon’s Governor, of our reopening plan related to the closures under the Governor’s Executive Order. This means Klamath County moves into Phase 1 of the Governor’s reopening requirements on May 15th.
“We know our businesses are ready to hit the ground running. They’ve been patient, and we applaud them. Now, let’s all get back to work!” said Commissioner Donnie Boyd.
Commissioner Kelley Minty Morris adds, “The State had a lot of requirements to ensure, by their standards, that a county was ready to reopen. We knew we would push for reopening at the very earliest opportunity, and I’m proud of our efforts, collectively, to get our community there.”
An extensive list of reopening requirements for the sectors in Phase 1 are on the Oregon Health Authority’s website and Klamath County’s website. Phase one includes retail, child care, restaurants and bars, gyms and fitness studios, personal services like hair salons, and transit. Oregon’s Governor, in phase 1, is still restricting gatherings to 25 people or fewer, and asking citizens to wear masks when out in public.
“The hardships that our businesses have faced in the midst of these shutdowns have been considerable, but Klamath County has endured and we will come back stronger than ever. I know our businesses are ready and I am excited to get out and support them!” said Commissioner Derrick DeGroot.
Some businesses have inquired as to where they can get the PPE required for reopening. Business Oregon has resources available, volunteers have donated masks that are being managed and available through the Blue Zones Project. Mass retailers like Amazon also have them for purchase.
Business Reopenings, Distancing Enforcement and Other Control Measures
• The Governor has issued her executive orders for physical distancing to protect the health and safety of Oregonians during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
• However, the Governor has also been very clear that, while everything in her executive order is enforceable by law, she wants every Oregonian to do their part and for businesses to comply, so we can focus law enforcement resources on real emergencies.
• Throughout this crisis, local law enforcement’s first focus has been to work with members of the public to educate them about complying with distancing measures. During a public health crisis, we want Oregon law enforcement officers to be focused on urgent public health and safety needs.
• If people are found to be violating the orders (such as congregating closely together), Oregon law enforcement agencies are united on the premise that the first course of action is to educate people on the importance of obeying the order and practicing strict physical distancing. Citation or arrest would be an extreme last resort if someone failed to comply with the lawful direction of a police officer.
• The Oregon State Police (OSP) serves as the lead agency for the state law enforcement response to COVID-19. They recently completed an FAQ document to help Oregonians better understand enforcement efforts of the Governor’s stay-at-home orders: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/Docs/Enforcement%20FAQ%20-%20English.pdf. OSP urges Oregonians not to call 911 if they see people violating the stay-at-home order – this number is reserved for reporting police, fire or medical emergencies. However, OSP advises that people may choose to self-educate their fellow Oregonians, while maintaining physical distancing themselves, if they see violations of the stay-at-home orders (primarily people gathering in large groups), or they may call their respective police agency’s non-emergency number.
• Violating the Governor’s orders under the current state of emergency is a Class C misdemeanor, the penalty for which is up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both.
• Oregonians who believe that a business is in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders – and therefore is placing its workers at risk – may file a report with Oregon OSHA. If what is being alleged is in violation of the order and would expose employees to risk, then Oregon OSHA can take enforcement action.
• To file a report with OSHA, use their online form, which is available in English (https://www4.cbs.state.or.us/exs/osha/hazrep/) and Spanish (https://www4.cbs.state.or.us/exs/osha/hazrep/?language=es). In addition, anyone can call their local field office and speak with someone about enforcement or to file a complaint. Businesses can also contact the consultation team at their field office to seek advice and help on best practices to keep their workers safe: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/maps.aspx.