PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown said Friday Oregon's COVID-19 related restrictions will be lifted by June 30 or once 70% of adults in the state vaccinated with at least the first dose of a COVID-19 — whichever comes first.
This means statewide mask mandates, in most settings, will be lifted and there will no longer be capacity limits, required physical distancing or county risk levels.
“It means, effectively, that Oregon is 100% open for business,” Brown said during a news conference. “This is a pivotal moment for Oregon.”
For more than a year Oregon has faced some of the nation’s strictest COVID-19 related safety measures and restrictions — county risk levels, mask requirements inside and outside, limited gatherings and restaurants closed for indoor dining.
Currently most counties have a limited indoor dining, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment capacity of 50%. In addition indoor gatherings in those counties are limited to 10 people and retail store capacity is 75%.
In May Brown set a statewide vaccination target of 70% of Oregon’s residents who are 16 years and older receive the first COVID-19 vaccine dose, before the state fully reopens.
As of Thursday 68.9% of adults in Oregon vaccinated with at least the first dose of a COVID-19 shot. The state is about 35,000 more people away from reaching the governor’s vaccination goal.
However the final stretch to reach the 70% target has turned into a crawl.
Two weeks ago, the average number of people getting their shot for the first time — primary doses of Pfizer and Moderna or a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — was about 5,000 a day, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority.
Over the past seven weekdays — the number has dipped below 2,600.
If vaccinations continue at the current pace, it would take up to two weeks to reach the 70% goal.
But, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel — with the governor announcing that even if the state does not reach the 70% target, the state will reopen on June 30.
Which outcome will occur first is being closely monitored as officials say backlogged vaccination data — especially ahead of the drawing for a $1 million prize for vaccinated people — is being submitted.
However, officials also say that the historic and record heat this weekend will likely impact vaccination events, both the ability of providers to administer vaccines as well as patients seeking vaccine.
Sara Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local news