Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wants residents to call the police on their neighbors over violations of the state’s latest coronavirus shutdown, which includes a six-person limit on in-home gatherings.
The temporary “freeze,” which went into effect Wednesday, restricts indoor at-home and social gatherings to six people from no more than two households, with no exceptions for Thanksgiving dinner get-togethers.
In a Friday virtual interview with KGW-TV, Ms. Brown agreed that Oregonians should contact authorities if they see their neighbors hosting more than six people.
“Look, this is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake. What do neighbors do? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy,” the Democratic governor told KGW. “This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”
Those committing infractions could face misdemeanor penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines of up to $1,250, or both, according to the governor’s executive order.
The two-week “freeze” is slated to end Dec. 2 everywhere except Multnomah County, which includes Portland, where the restrictions are in place for four weeks based on the county’s larger population and case numbers.
The shutdown has drawn plenty of pushback. Clackamas County Board of Commissioners chair-elect Tootie Smith said on Facebook that she would celebrate Thanksgiving with “as many family and friends as I can find,” while the Oregon restaurant industry has filed a lawsuit against the prohibition on indoor dining.
In a Friday statement, the Marion County Sheriff’s office said: “We recognize that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic, and we believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”
Ms. Brown said that Oregonians should not be placed in the position of having to decide whether to turn in their neighbors.
“But honestly, they shouldn’t have to,” said Ms. Brown. “This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians. It’s about protecting our families, it’s about protecting our vulnerable community members and frankly it’s about protecting the entire state of Oregon.”
As with much of the country, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Oregon “as we enter cold and flu season, as the weather turns and grows colder, and as Oregonians spend more time indoors,” said the governor’s executive order.
The Oregon Health Department reported Friday a new single-day record of 1,306 cases.