Governor Kate Brown today signed a recovery-focused executive order lifting all remaining COVID-19 health and safety restrictions issued under Oregon’s emergency statutes. Restrictions will be lifted when Oregon achieves a 70% first dose adult vaccination rate or on Wednesday, June 30, whichever occurs sooner. With restrictions lifted, the state will shift to a focus on helping Oregonians and communities recover from the impacts and the economic toll of the pandemic.
“I’m proud of our collective efforts to vaccinate more than 2.3 million Oregonians. It is because of this success that we can move Oregon forward, and into the next chapter of this pandemic. We are ready,” said Governor Brown. “We should all take pride in the work we have done to bring us to this moment. The efforts underway to close our vaccine equity gap and reach every Oregonian with information and a vaccine have definitely helped bring us this far.
Thank you to all who are going the extra mile to vaccinate Oregonians.” The Governor signed the executive order today in a press conference with Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger, and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.
The Governor’s recovery order rescinds Executive Order 20-66, the successor to her original “Stay Home, Save Lives” order and subsequent “Safe and Strong Oregon” orders, which authorized Oregon’s statewide mask mandate and the county risk level system, including restrictions on businesses and other sectors for physical distancing, capacity limits, closing times, and more. The recovery order also rescinds Executive Order Order 20-22 (Non-urgent Healthcare Procedures), Executive Order 21-06 (K-12 Schools), Executive Order 20-28 (Higher Education), and Executive Order 20-19 (Childcare Facilities).
With the repeal of the set of executive orders that placed COVID-19 related restrictions on Oregonians, the recovery order extends the emergency declaration for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s remaining emergency authority will be limited in focus to COVID-19 recovery efforts, similar to the recovery executive order currently in place for 2020 wildfire season recovery.
Emergency authority continues to be necessary to provide flexibility and resources for vaccination efforts, health system response to COVID-19 including staffing flexibility, Oregon’s access to FEMA, enhanced SNAP benefits, and other federal aid, to allow the continued operation of certain emergency child care providers through the summer, unemployment insurance claim processing, and more. The recovery order does not provide authorization for agencies to renew restrictions based on emergency authorities.
Continued Governor Brown: “This is a pivotal moment for Oregon. We have endured a lot over the past several months. We must recognize that it has been exceptionally difficult for our Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities. Disparities that existed before are even wider now. I am incredibly proud of the work that our local health partners and community-based organizations have done to reach Oregonians from communities of color and make progress toward closing the equity gaps in our vaccination efforts.
“Brighter days are ahead. And, we are more determined than ever to make sure we ground our state in a strong recovery that reaches every single Oregonian as we turn a page on this chapter of the pandemic. Our work is not done, but we can all take a moment to celebrate that by next week, we will be moving forward together.”
Some statewide mask requirements may stay in place in specialized settings following federal guidance, including airports, public transit, and health care settings. The Governor’s recovery order will remain in effect until December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier.
K-12 Education, Higher Education, and Childcare
Rescinding the Governor’s executive orders for K-12 schools, higher education, and childcare will mean a shift to a more traditional, local decision-making model for communities when it comes to serving the health and safety needs of students and children.
In order to ensure a return to full-time, in-person instruction in the fall, the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority will be issuing updated, advisory guidance for the 2021-22 school year. Schools will still be expected to comply with longstanding regulations around the control of infectious diseases, and to have a communicable disease management plan.