Officials from eight Oregon counties—Douglas, Coos, Curry, Jackson, Josephine, Umatilla, Harney and Baker—are asking Gov. Kate Brown to allow most nonessential businesses to reopen.
Last week, Brown asked counties to send plans for gradual reopening from COVID-19 shutdowns.
Many counties seeking a faster timetable for reopening are on the Oregon Coast, which has been hobbled by layoffs because of its reliance on tourism.
In their request to the governor, Baker County officials cited the fact the county has no cases, and provided a plan for phased reopening and monitoring any surge in COVID-19. Under the plan, restaurants could reopen at half capacity two weeks after the governor gives the green light. (Read it here.)
"Given current data trends, we would expect that the first areas of the state that could be eligible to begin the process of reopening will be in rural Oregon," says Brown spokeswoman Liz Merah. "This will be dependent on detailed plans—with input from local public health officials and health care providers—on how regions will ensure they have adequate testing capacity, sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment, and the public health staff for contact tracing."