Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, an Emergency Room Doctor, Calls For Shutting Down Restaurants, Bars

The commissioner calls for action before March 17 St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Although Gov. Kate Brown this morning declined to shut bars and restaurants in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, some elected officials are urging action.

Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, an emergency room doctor, called for taking immediate steps to limit public gatherings beyond the 250-person limit Brown called for last week.

Meieran reacted to the governor's decision not to act:

"I believe it is our obligation to be closing bars and restaurants across the state," says Meieran. "It seems not doing this is putting politics above public health, and even the CDC—they have not been known for their proactivity—is going above what we are doing in Oregon. I feel very strongly, and a lot of others do, that we need to take the public health approach."

Meieran also argued that there is a tight time-frame with St. Patrick's Day celebrations expected tomorrow.

"The bars have to be closed by then," Meieran says. "People are going to go out for one last hurrah. That is going to be a tremendous setback."