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COOS COUNTY — The Coos County Board of Commissioners approved sending a letter to Gov. Kate Brown on Friday requesting permission for the county to move into Phase 2 for reopening the state.

According to the governor’s reopening plan, the goal for Phase 2 is to further expand gathering size and allow for some in-person office work as well as visitation to nursing homes.

In-person gatherings would be permissible for groups of up to 100 people as long as social distancing guidelines and other safety precautions were are still being followed.

Businesses such as bowling alleys, movie theaters, pools, arcades, mini golf, youth sports training as well as churches and overnight camping with cohorts practicing social distancing guidelines would be allowed to reopen under Phase 2, according to Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins.

“We expect to hear back from the governor’s office by the middle of next week,” said Cribbins. “We do expect the application to be approved because Coos County has continued to meet (the state’s) measure and we haven’t had a sudden increase of cases.”

Restaurants and bars will also have curfews extended to midnight under Phase 2. According to the letter sent to the governor’s office, the county stated it continues to meet the criteria outlined in Phase, it has sufficient Personal Protective Equipment for its first responders and at least 10 trained contact tracers available to the county.

“We really see this as an acknowledgment of all the hard work that businesses in Coos County have done,” said Cribbins.

In the letter, the county requested to enter into Phase 2 reopening on June 6.

DOUGLAS COUNTY — The Douglas County Board of Commissioners, led by Board Chair Commissioner Chris Boice, worked in conjunction with Public Health Official Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer to also quickly complete and submit the Phase 2 reopening request letter to the Governor on Friday.

Governor Kate Brown announced late Thursday night that Oregon counties in the no-less-than 21-day Phase 1 reopening trial period can submit their Phase 2 request letters starting Friday.

"Our request letter is the next-step in the process for the Governor’s phased reopening plan that provides further relaxing of restrictions, as well as additional opportunities for businesses to reopen and offer expanded services in our county," Boice said.

Douglas County has been in Phase 1 of reopening since Friday, May 15. The phased reopening plan comes after the Governor issued mandatory closures and shutdowns for specific sector businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 17. The decision to grant Douglas County businesses permission to begin Phase 2 reopening now lies in the hands of the Governor. According to the reopening plan guidelines, the submitted letters will be reviewed and counties that receive approval from the Governor could enter Phase 2 as soon as June 5.

“Again, we are confident that our efforts to combat COVID-19 in our county will pay off with the Governor approving our request to enter Phase 2," Boice added. "Our Douglas County COVID-19 Response Team, under the direction of Commissioner Tim Freeman, along with the incredible work accomplished by our Public Health Official, Dr. Bob Dannenhoffer and Douglas Public Health Network, have paved the way for Douglas County to be in the right position to advance to Phase 2 in a safe and structured manner."

Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-6039 or by email at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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