LINCOLN COUNTY — Lincoln is the last non-metro county in phase one, and on Sept. 29, it joins all but Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in phase two of the Oregon Health Authority’s reopening framework.
So, what actually changes? The guidance from the state has been somewhat confusing, with frequent updates posted to the Oregon Health Authority website, and the difference is not as great as before Gov. Kate Brown changed the regulations early in the summer. For example, restaurants and bars were previously able to serve drinks until midnight during phase two, but now they have the same 10 p.m. service curfew as those in phase one counties.
How many people can get together? The state has different guidance depending on the setting. For most “gatherings,” which the health authority defines as “a group of individuals meeting for a common purpose including faith-based, civic, cultural and other purposes,” the size limit is 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Churches, theaters, gyms and restaurants and other venues can have more — provided they can accommodate 6 feet between parties of 10 people or fewer, they’re allowed to hold up to 100 people indoors and 250 outdoors, not to exceed 250 if a combination of both.
Health authority guidance notes that some services and sectors have never been subject to the gathering size limit, such as workplaces, banks and credit unions, schools, government, grocery stores and retail. These sectors have their own guidance.
“Indoor social get-togethers” have a tighter cap — just 10 people, no different from phase one. These are defined as “a group of individuals meeting for a common social or recreational purpose,” including indoor dinner parties, birthday parties, graduation parties, celebrations of any kind, potlucks, book clubs and game nights. Lincoln County has an order in effect in unincorporated areas that extends the 10-person social get-together limit to outdoor spaces, as well.
There will be more opportunity for leisure activities. Bowling alleys, miniature golf courses, pools and spas, arcades and movie theaters can reopen, and non-contact recreational sports can commence (though it is at school districts’ discretion when scholastic athletics will resume). Individuals can venture further for leisure, with the “local travel only” restriction lifted in favor of “increased travel, commensurate with increased openings.”
In a Facebook post with a long list of activities that will newly be permitted, (tinyurl.com/y3t9xo25) Lincoln County Public Health stressed that face covering and physical distancing requirements will not change.