Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement early this afternoon, updating Portlanders on his current thinking about whether to issue a "shelter in place" order to strengthen social distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In California, the cities of Fresno and Palm Springs issued shelter in place policies today, joining Bay Area and central coast counties. Gov. Kate Brown told reporters this morning she is not ready to issue such an order statewide.
Here is Wheeler's statement on the city's draft shelter in place policy:
This is a fast-moving pandemic. The situation is changing hour-by-hour.
We want to stay ahead of the virus and are planning for every contingency.
On matters of social distancing and other public health measures, we are in very close consultation with public health and medical experts. We are relying on their guidance.
We are considering further social distancing measures, including a directive to community members to stay at home except for essential purposes.
In the event that a shelter in place order is required, we want to have a thoughtful approach ready to implement.
We can't afford to get caught flat-footed. Days, or even hours, can make a difference.
A shelter in place order doesn't mean people are locked in their homes.
It means that if they don't have to be out, they won't be.
In the current draft, things that would be allowed include:
Trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the doctor, the vet. Take out food with appropriate social distancing.
Taking the dog for a walk, going for a hike or a jog, with appropriate social distancing.
Caring for a family member or a pet in another household.
In this framework many businesses are considered essential.
These include healthcare, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, farming, gas stations, auto repair shops, hardware stores, banks and credit unions, dry cleaners, delivery services, take-out, lots of manufacturing, and more.
This list isn't exhaustive, but it gives a sense of what the status quo would be during a shelter in place situation.
I will continue to communicate with my County and State partners, and to consult with public health and medical experts.
And I will keep the community updated as this situation evolves.