Oregon's Freeze

The following is Gov. Kate Brown's Executive Order concerning the 2-week freeze to slow the COVID-19 pandemic and reaction to that order.

Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-65 following last week's announcement of a statewide freeze to stop the rapid community spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. In light of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the order outlines necessary risk reduction measures designed to limit gatherings and curb human contact.

"I know Oregonians have made tremendous sacrifices throughout this pandemic and that these new, temporary restrictions may seem daunting," said Governor Brown. "But, we are at a breaking point. If we don't take further action, we risk continued alarming spikes in infections and hospitalizations, and we risk the lives of our neighbors and loved ones.

"I also know that Oregonians come together in times of need, and we owe it to each other to take these measures seriously. It is up to all of us to work together to get this virus under control."

Executive Order 20-65 addresses the following in detail:

  • Limiting at-home and social gatherings, as well as faith institutions
  • Limiting the maximum capacity for grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores
  • Restricting food and drink establishments to take-out only
  • Requiring workplaces to mandate work-from-home as much as possible
  • Closing certain businesses, including gyms, museums, zoos, and indoor recreation facilities

As with the Governor's previous executive orders related to COVID-19, all of the freeze measures are enforceable by law upon both individuals and businesses. However, the Governor is urging voluntary compliance. These measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are a necessity to give Oregon a fighting chance to flatten the curve and save lives.

Governor Brown added: "I expect local law enforcement to continue to use an education first approach, but Oregonians need to understand that these rules are enforceable under law. A large majority of Oregonians continue to do the right thing to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their neighbors. However, when Oregonians don’t take COVID-19 seriously, and don’t take steps to reduce the spread of the disease, they put all of us at risk. We need all Oregonians to use common sense, make smart choices, and take seriously their individual responsibilities during a public health emergency."

Reaction

Elected officials from all levels of government across Oregon sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown outlining serious concerns with her most recent COVID-19 orders. The full text of the letter is available below:

Please find this letter of concern on behalf of elected officials from all of Oregon. First and foremost, we are Oregonians, we are neighbors, friends, family members. We have been called to serve and voted into office by our constituency. It is in all these roles that we write to share our grave concerns with your latest Executive Order.

We recognize the threat that COVID-19 poses to our community and support data driven decisions to limit the spread of this disease, but we do not support the mandate to close gyms, churches, and restaurants as it is not supported by historical data and will only address a small fraction of Oregon’s COVID cases at the cost of thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses.

Combined, cases that can be traced back to churches, restaurants and gyms make up less than 1% of all the recorded COVID cases in Oregon. Quite simply, there is no actual evidence that restaurants, gyms or churches are driving COVID in our community. In fact, because of the adherence to mask wearing and social distancing, these establishments have been some of the safest in the state.

The closure of these establishments ensures more jobs are lost and Oregonians are left only to rely on a broken unemployment system. Our neighbors and friends won’t be able to pay their mortgages, pay their rent, or buy Christmas presents for their children because of this decision. This is wrong.

Furthermore, we are concerned with the violation of our privacy as the state police and local law enforcement agencies are being ordered to investigate and criminally charge Oregonians based on the number of people they invite into their homes. Legality questions aside, with depression and anxiety levels at an all-time high, creating a new crime to visit your family only hinders those struggling with their mental health.

Data shows us that COVID has been spreading at private social gatherings, and we call on our fellow citizens to be careful and social distance when gathering over the holidays, but we cannot and will not support any attempt by any police agency to violate the sacred space of any Oregonian’s home.

We urge you to stop this mandate that will hinder the working people, families and their loved ones, the well-being of Oregonians, and the state of our economy and communities.

Thank you for taking this into consideration as we all work together to keep Oregon safe.

Sincerely,

Bill Post, State Representative, HD 25

Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner

Rick Lewis, State Representative, HD 18

David Brock Smith, State Representative, HD 1

Raquel Moore-Green, State Representative, HD 19

Mark Owens, State Representative, HD 60

Mike Nearman, State Representative, HD 23

Jim Yon, Linn County Sheriff

Tim Knopp, State Senator, SD 27

Jack Zika, State Representative, HD 53

Cathy Clark, Mayor of Keizer

Craig Pope, Polk County Commissioner

Danielle Bethell, Marion County Commissioner Elect

Lyle Mordhorst, Polk County Commissioner

Reaction

Freedom Foundation response to newer, tougher COVID restrictions in Oregon:

“The Freedom Foundation was appalled to learn about Gov. Kate Brown’s new shutdown mandates in Oregon. The prospect of families being forced to spend Thanksgivings apart due to a government mandate is unimaginable in the United States. And threatening to throw people in jail for simply spending time with their families while at the same time freeing hundreds of prisoners is sick. Then again, so is much of what passes for leadership in this state.”

“Gov. Brown and the rest of Oregon’s public employees have never missed a paycheck because of lockdowns. The worst they’ve had to contend with is being allowed to work from home. Meanwhile, thousands of small businesses and their employees have taken a severe hit to their finances and freedoms. This disconnect is unconscionable.”

“The Freedom Foundation will continue to fight Gov. Brown’s unlawful lockdown orders. In her mind, this has never been about health and safety. All she cares about is power, and she’s not above fearmongering to obtain more of it.”

By Jason Dudash

Oregon Director of the Freedom Foundation

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