State Watch

States reimpose extensive COVID-19 restrictions

Three states are set to reimpose some of the most extensive coronavirus-related restrictions amid a nationwide spike of infections and hospitalizations.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Friday announced a two-weeks-long “freeze” that will close certain businesses and dramatically reduce capacity of indoor spaces.

Brown’s plan, which will begin next Wednesday, will limit all bars and restaurants to takeout only, close all gyms, prohibit indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from two different households, cap capacity at grocery stores and pharmacies at 75 percent and allow churches and faith groups to accommodate indoor crowds of no more than 25 people, or 50 people outside.

During a press conference, Brown said the freeze will last longer for certain hot spot counties that have been hit harder with the COVID surge.

“I want to be honest about that now. Be prepared. Our actions right now, no matter where in the state you live, are absolutely critical,” Brown said. 

Brown said the freeze will not apply to barber shops, hair salons or homeless shelters. Outdoor recreation and sports programs, including Pac-12 college football games, are also exempt as are child care programs, K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

The announcement comes on the same day Brown and fellow West Coast governors in California and Washington issued a joint travel advisory, warning that anyone arriving from out of state should quarantine for two weeks. 

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is going even further.

The state is going to hit the “reset” button, Lujan Grisham said. From Nov. 16 through Nov. 30, all nonessential businesses will be closed, and residents are being urged to stay at home

Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, child care facilities and more, will be forced to “minimize operations and in-person staffing to the greatest extent possible,” although they may remain open.

In Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott is one of the lone Republican governors reimposing harsh restrictions. 

Effective at 10 p.m. Saturday, the state is prohibiting multiple-household gatherings, both inside and outside. All restaurants have to close in-person dining at 10 p.m., and must provide seated dining service to no more than one household per table.

All bars, breweries and social clubs will be closed.

All recreational sports programs will be suspended, and out of town college students must quarantine upon arrival in the state.

Coronavirus cases are rising to record levels across the country. While the virus is known to spread quickly in gyms and indoor restaurants, few governors have taken such drastic steps by closing down them down.

Tags Coronavirus Kate Brown Michelle Lujan Grisham

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