How to stay safe as Oregon reopens during the pandemic

It’s been 10 weeks since Governor Brown issued the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order that resulted from our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregonians made many sacrifices to stay home as much as possible in order to slow the spread of the virus. Now, as Stay Home orders begin to lift across Oregon, many are eager to return to some sense of normalcy. While many businesses and activities are reopening around the state, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is still out there, especially for those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues. It’s important that you continue to take precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones as you start to step back into the world.

Here’s what to expect as you begin venturing out:

Plan ahead
First, it’s important to note that Governor Brown is taking a regional approach to reopening the state, which means not all counties are on the same timeline for reopening. Before heading out, make sure that you know where your county is in the reopening process. You can click here to find out what phase of reopening your county is in.

Also, check to see if there are any changes to the business’s hours of operation. Many grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors so you can get what you need while avoiding the crowds. Some restaurants have begun offering dine-in service for limited hours based on the phase their county is in. A quick phone call or check of the business’s website before you go can help save you from any surprises.

Be respectful of space
Regardless of which phase your county is in, physical distancing guidelines are still in place, so things may look different when you go out. Many retail stores now have special markings on their floors to help customers keep the recommended six feet of distance, as well as plexiglass barriers between you and the cashier at grocery stores and pharmacies. If you go out to a restaurant, movie, or place of worship, there may be more limited seating available to accommodate for distancing. Summer in Oregon is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature, just keep in mind that six feet of distance is recommended for outdoor activities as well.
The Governor continues to strongly recommend wearing a face covering while out in public. This is especially true when physical distancing makes an activity difficult, like going to the barber or hair salon. In most cases, it’s recommended that both the employee and the customer wear a face covering during the time of service. Check to see what the requirements are before you go to be prepared.

Take care of yourself
Above all, stay vigilant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking steps to reduce your risk of getting sick, such as washing your hands often, watching for any symptoms of illness – like a cough, fever, or shortness of breath – and if you are sick, stay home.
Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health, which makes it more important than ever to stay connected with the ones you love. So, send a Facebook message to a friend or make a phone call to your grandkids. Sometimes all you need is to hear is another person’s voice to brighten your day.
It will take some time for things to settle as we adapt to a different way of living. In the meantime, take reasonable precautions to keep yourself safe as you resume your activities, and allow yourself and others patience and grace as we all adjust to a new normal.

For more details on reopening guidance, visit

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