Rural Oregon reverses re-openings. Slowly shutting down,

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Malheur is the third Oregon rural county to see new restrictions imposed as COVID-19 cases increased. The governor reinstated stay-at-home status for Umatilla County and shifted Morrow County back to Phase 1. This comes as all of rural Oregon and all counties are now hit with an expanded mask mandate for all workplaces.

With positive coronavirus cases soaring in Malheur County, Gov. Kate Brown rolled back reopening to Phase 1, meaning the closure of swimming pools, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and recreational sports leagues and limits on the size of gatherings.

The county near the Idaho border, with a population of 30,600, has recorded 851 confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began—and 15 people have died. A quarter of the people tested have been positive for the disease. Malheur has the state’s third highest per capita rate with 266 cases per 10,000 people.

Although Brown reopened counties May 15, she promised to restore restrictions if needed.

Most people won’t see changes in Malheur County because a judge in July modified the Phase II reopening. Bars and restaurants already close by 10 p.m. The judge limited gatherings outdoors to no more than 25 people and indoors to fewer than 10.

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