On Monday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a stay at home order that requires Oregonians to stay in their homes and apartments whenever possible, and to remain at least 6 feet away from each other.
Per Brown's order, residents are still free to go outside for exercise, and to purchase groceries or go to the pharmacy. But all social activities and most shopping are banned.
Before today, staying inside and alone was a suggestion. Now it's the law.
The Portland Police Bureau announced Monday it can issue criminal citations to those who violate the order.
"Officers will attempt to educate violators of the order first, from a distance, in accordance with the 6-foot social distancing guidelines," the bureau said in a statement. "Every effort will be made to gain voluntary compliance with the governor's order and provide a warning."
If a person ignores or continues to violate an officer's directions, the officer may issue a class C misdemeanor citation for interfering with a police officer and violating an executive order. However, the bureau said, issuing such citations is considered a "last resort measure."
Nonessential businesses that remain open in Portland will receive a warning from police, but agencies like the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will bear ultimate responsibility for taking disciplinary action against businesses.
"Ideally, everyone would be aware of the order and voluntarily comply," Portland Police Chief Jami Resch said in a press release. "We will take an educate-first approach and use criminal citations as a very last resort. Portlanders are known for their care, cooperation and compassion."
Individuals who receive such citations are not likely to go to jail. The Police Bureau announced last week it would issue citations to most misdemeanor offenders rather than take them to jail in order to reduce overcrowding and lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.