Messages telling tourists to leave Joseph and “Don’t Come Back” because of fears about carrying coronavirus to citizens crossed the line from protected free speech into criminal behavior by vandalizing public property, said Larry Braden, Joseph city administrator.
For weeks people have posted paper signs such as “Tourists Go Home! You are the spread—COVID-19” and “Tourists, Before you came, you checked the COVID count here didn’t you? So you know you could be responsible for bringing us community spread COVID. Negligent Homicide?”
But then they vandalized a sign on public property, whiting out the words “forget to” in a sign reading “Don’t forget to come back” at the town’s north end, leaving the sign to read “Don’t come back” Repainting the sign will cost money, so the sheriff’s office and city administrators want to find and prosecute the culprits.
Previously Governor Kate Brown had mandated masks within seven counties around the Portland Metro area and State Capital and has since been expanded to cover all counties in the state as the cases increase beyond typical city areas.