Update on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 in Oregon

In the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown has issued a series of Executive Orders (EOs) and other restrictions impacting personal and business activities with the goal of protecting the health and safety of Oregonians.

New–Statewide Two-Week Freeze–effective November 18 to December 2nd. Governor Brown has issued EO 20-65 to “address surge in COVID-19 Cases in Oregon.”

Two-Week Freeze
Social Gatherings
Limited to no more than 6 people total, from no more than 2 households – indoor and outdoor
Limited faith-based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors
No Indoor visitation in long-term care facilities
Work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and close offices to the public
Restaurants are delivery and take-out only
Grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to 75% capacity and should encourage curbside pick up
Retail stores and malls (indoor and outdoor) are limited to 75% capacity and should encourage curbside pick up
Must Close
Gyms and fitness organizations
Indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts
Zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools
Venues that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events

Please review the Governor’s COVID-19 website for additional information and guidance for sector-specific activities. https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19/

Previous EO’s including the recent “Safe and Strong Oregon” order on May 14, 2020 and previous “Stay Home, Save Lives” order from March 23, 2020. Irrigation districts and similar entities are not among businesses required to close; however, you do need to implement social distancing procedures, allow for telecommute options where feasible, and implement other precautionary measures. Please review your county’s specific guidance for Phase 1 reopening as applicable.

Oregon OSHA has also released temporary rules related to COVID-19 and has a variety of information on their Infectious Disease Rulemaking webpage. Please review OSHA’s Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks and implement requirements as applicable to your operations.

Please be advised while it is not necessary at the state level to demonstrate that district operations are essential, there is updated guidance from the US Dept of Homeland Security on “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” listing “Workers supporting agriculture irrigation infrastructure” as well as other components relevant to water delivery. We encourage you to contact your attorney for specific questions related to policies during this time or compliance with applicable Executive Orders.

OWRC has modified its office operations to comply with the current EOs and county requirements as well as recommended CDC guidance for social distancing while continuing to deliver key services for our members. During this time we will have limited access to the office and encourage you to contact staff by email and we will get back you as soon as possible.

OWRC has compiled a list of available guidance and resources for districts responding to COVID-19 related impacts to district operations. This list will be updated as we receive additional information. For more information, visit: District COVID-19 Resources

Our partner association, Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) also has a number of valuable resources on their COVID-19 webpage, including FAQ’s about how to handle public meetings, paid leave, and other scenarios during this difficult time.

This is a challenging time for all of us, but as with all storms, we will weather it together (even if it is from a distance), and be stronger for it. Thank you for all that you continue to do on behalf of irrigated agriculture.

“The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.” ~ Aesop

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