Gov. Brown announced on May 11 that she will fully reopen the state once the vaccine rate (adults 16+ with the first dose) hits 70% statewide. “Fully reopen” means risk levels will be eliminated, and businesses can return to normal operations, although mask and distancing requirements may continue.
The governor said the state can hit that goal by late June with additional efforts to encourage broader vaccination. Currently, more than half of adult Oregonians — over two million — have received one dose.
The governor said she will work with counties on incentive programs to mitigate vaccine hesitancy. Beginning May 21, she also said that counties that reach at least 65% of their qualifying population with at least one shot have the option of returning to the “low risk” category, which greatly increases allowable capacity for indoor and outdoor venues.
“We absolutely agree with the governor that our top priority must be to encourage every Oregonian to get a vaccination. That is the only way we will get to the end of this pandemic,” said Sandra McDonough, OBI president & CEO. “Oregonians must see that reduced restrictions – and a return to normal — are a real possibility.
“At the same time, we encourage Gov. Brown to do everything she can to offer creative and timely vaccine incentives,” McDonough continued. “For example, workers on the fence about getting a shot may be incentivized if it means mask restrictions are eased for vaccinated workers. Restaurants and gyms may join the effort to encourage their customers to get a shot if they know it will result in a return to normal operations sooner rather than later. The goals must be aggressive but still achievable, and the rewards should roll in as soon as possible.”