Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sees Portlanders sneaking back to parks and playgrounds, and is not pleased.
Brown admonished residents of Oregon's major city this morning, saying they were failing to adequately comply with her stay-home order as the weather improved.
"Some parts of Oregon are doing better than others at staying home and practicing social distancing," Brown wrote. "To all our Portlanders: As tempting as it is to be out and about, please remember that our No. 1 priority right now is staying home and social distancing."
That's the toughest tone Brown has struck during the COVID-19 pandemic since the weekend of March 21, when Portlanders poured into Oregon coast towns and beaches for spring-break vacations, despite her urging them to stay home. Two days later, she issued the stay-home order.
Portland residents have largely complied—and the Oregon Health Authority says that quarantine averted the worst outcomes from the COVID-19 virus. So far, 38 Oregonians have died from COVID-19, but fatality projections have dropped.
The weather improved this week, however, and multiple media reports show crowds at Portland parks have increased, making it difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from other people.
Brown's press secretary, Elizabeth Merah, says the governor saw those reports, too.
"We've heard anecdotally about gatherings in metro-area parks and other public spaces," says Merah. "Given our current weather forecast, she is urging all Oregonians to continue to stay home and practice strict social distancing."
Merah says Brown understands the temptation of the fine weather.
"The governor also recognizes that it can be difficult to resist the urge to get outside and visit Oregon's forests, beaches and other wide-open spaces, especially when we're spending far more time indoors than we're used to," she says. "Our most recent projections show that if we maintain our current social distancing measures through early May, we can slow transmissions significantly and help Oregon hospitals meet the demand for bed space and ventilators. The governor is asking for all Oregonians—despite the nice weather—to follow the spirit of the order."
Mayor Ted Wheeler's office says Portlanders should comply.
"Governor Brown is right," says mayoral spokesman Timothy Becker. "As Oregon's largest city, Portlanders need to continue to do their part to flatten the curve by staying home and saving lives. Many have been and we're grateful for everyone's hard work in this. "