After 12 weeks shuttered, Coos County dining, recreation and entertainment establishments will finally get a break Friday.
According to the latest COVID-19 data from the Oregon Health Authority, the county will move into the high-risk category of the state’s pandemic restrictions — a step below the extreme-risk category where the county has remained longer than any other county in the state.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is expected to formally announce the move Tuesday, when her office reevaluates the metrics for each county across the state.
The change means indoor dining and recreation will again be permitted in the county starting Friday, though capacities will still be limited until the county moves into lower categories of restrictions. Among the rules:
- Indoor dining will be limited to 25% capacity, or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Outdoor dining will be limited to 75 people, and all parties will be limited to six people from two households.
- Indoor entertainment, recreation and fitness establishments will be limited to 25% capacity, or 50 people, whichever is smaller. Indoor full-contact sports remain prohibited, and entertainment venues must close at 11 p.m.
- Outdoor entertainment, recreation and fitness establishments will be limited to a maximum of 15% occupancy and must close at 11 p.m.
- Inside and outside visitation is allowed at long-term care centers.
- Funeral homes, mortuaries and cemeteries will be limited to 25% capacity indoors, or 150 people total, whichever is smaller, and outdoor capacity will be limited to 200 people maximum. Faith institutions are advised to follow the same requirements.
- Indoor and outdoor shopping centers, malls and retail stores will be restricted to 50% capacity, with curbside pick-up encouraged.
- Offices may open, but remote work is recommended if able.
- Social gatherings should be limited to six people from two households indoors, and eight people outdoors.
Monday’s numbers show the county’s made improvements in its COVID-19 case rates, finally bringing it under the 200 cases per 100,000 in population and 10% test positivity needed to escape the extreme level.
The numbers show the county had 170.6 cases per 100,000 in population and a 5.8% test positivity rate for the March 21 through April 3 timeframe, the lowest rates in months.
Still, the figures don’t mean the county is out of the woods yet: Coos County’s case rate is still the ninth highest of the state's 36 counties, and another uptick could easily send the county back the most restrictive category.
The state will reevaluate metrics in two weeks and announce new county restriction levels April 20. If the county maintains its current case rates, it’ll stay in the high-risk category, while an increase in cases would put the county in a two-week grace period before a return to the extreme-risk category.
A decrease in rates below 100 cases per 100,000 in population and 8% test positivity will bring the county to the moderate-risk level, which expands the allowable occupancy of the county’s businesses.
Coos Health & Wellness confirmed the move to the high-risk category in a Facebook post Monday, adding that "High is not the goal! While we have reached a milestone, our goal should always be to keep moving to the next lower risk level."