FAQ: COVID-19 in Oregon

April 1, 2020 (Updated May 15, 2020)

Travel Oregon’s mission remains the same throughout these challenging times — to provide informationresources and content that inspires travel to and within Oregon. The health and safety of our visitors has always been our top priority in Oregon — now, more than everDuring these unparalleled times, Travel Oregon is urging all travelers to take protective measures against the coronavirus and make informed travel decisions. We hope you are inspired to visit Oregon in the future, when it is time to do so. We’ll be here, ready to welcome all visitors when that time comes. 

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 in Oregon.

How many cases of coronavirus are in Oregon right now?

The best resource for the latest information on COVID-19 in Oregon is the Oregon Health Authority website.

Does Oregon have a plan to reopen?

Governor Kate Brown has released an initial Reopening Oregon Framework. On May 14, 2020, it was announced that 31 of the 33 county applications to move to Phase 1 were approved and approved counties could begin Phase 1 as early as May 15, 2020. View the list of counties that have submitted requests here. Details around the governor’s plan can be found on the state’s main COVID-19 website.

What is the latest executive order from the governor’s office?

On May 15, 2020, the governor’s office released Executive Order 20-25 (“Safe and Strong Oregon”), which supersedes Executive Order 20-12. The new executive order mainly focuses on updates to incorporate counties moving to Phase 1, but it also allowing ski areas to reopen.

Are the stay at home orders still in place? 

It’s important to note that as of May 14, 2020, the entire state is still under the Stay Home. Save Lives order per Executive Order 20-12.  

Can we travel now?

No. Governor Brown is still asking Oregonians to stay close to home. The new guidance asks people to continue avoiding overnight and “non-essential” trips, including recreational day trips to destinations outside of their community.  

What is the difference between essential and non-essential travel?

Executive Order 20-12 restricts non-essential travel. This order is currently active and will continue to be active in the futureThe key is to stay local.  

  • Essential travel: This may be for your work, caring for your family or other vulnerable populations, or the need to acquire essential items (household food and supplies including takeout), shelter, emergency services, education, health care, and for legal or financial needs). 
  • Non-essential travel: This includes outdoor recreation activities as well as vacations and other leisure activities. Nonessential travel is not crucial to the functioning of society during a crisis. It is critical that the public comply with social distancing and public health guidelines when participating in non-essential trips. 

When will non-essential travel be allowed?

It is currently unclear when non-essential travel will be allowed. Counties will need to successfully be within Phase 1 for at least 21 days before being able to apply for Phase 2. Specifics of Phase 2 are still being determined and will depend on data from Phase 1. Many rural areas in Oregon have limited health care facilities and are not equipped to welcome an influx of visitors at this time.

Will the state reopen all at once or by county?

Technically, both. Counties are currently applying to move into Phase 1 of the governor’s reopening framework. But the state will also be following a phased reopening, such as slowly reopening select state park facilities.   

Either way, as the state reopens, it’s important to remember the risks. We must all do our best to protect ourselves and othersThe state has released general guidelines that the public should follow regardless of where they live or what phase of reopening their community is in 

  • Stay close to home.  
  • Stay home if you are sick.  
  • Use cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings in public.  
  • Practice physical distancing of at least six (6) feet between you and people who you do not live with.  
  • People who are at risk for severe complications (over age 60 or have underlying medical conditions) should stay home even if they feel well.  
  • If you become symptomatic (cough, fever, shortness of breath) while in public, please return home and self-isolate immediately.  
  • Practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (60-95% alcohol content).  
  • Cover coughs/sneezes with elbow or tissue. If you use a tissue, immediately discard tissue in garbage and your wash hands.  
  • Avoid touching your face.  

If I live in a county that isn’t allowing non-essential travel, can I go to a county with fewer restrictions?

Currently no counties in Oregon allow non-essential travel. This will continue through Phase 1. Governor Brown is still asking Oregonians to stay local and to avoid overnight and “non-essential” trips, including recreational day trips to destinations outside of their community.  

If I live out of state, should I cancel my trip to Oregon?

The state is still under an executive order that does not allow non-essential travel, which would include vacation plans and it is unclear when this order will be lifted. Many of the counties and cities in the state have temporarily banned motel and vacation rentals including Airbnb for short-term use. Please check the city or county websites for updated information or Travel Oregon alerts pagePlease be flexible with your travel plans – public safety is currently the state’s number one priority. 

I have a guided trip planned in Oregon this summer. Should I cancel?

Make sure you work with the tour guide or operator you made your plans with. Tour guides and operators are working to comply with the new reopening guidelinesIf it is not possible to travel, consider postponing instead of canceling your upcoming trip. Oregon guides and outfitters depend on reservation deposits to sustain their businesses – and the local economy. By maintaining these investments, you will make an important impact and have a lot to look forward to once physical distancing is no longer needed. When it’s time to explore, Oregon will be ready for you. 

For more information on outdoor recreation, visit the Travel Oregon’s outdoor recreation resource page here or OPRD’s question/answer page here.  

How can I support the state of Oregon right now?

The best way to support the state of Oregon and Oregonians right now is to follow the Executive Order: Stay home and follow the executive order to stay home except for essential needs, practice social distancing, good hand washing hygiene and covering coughs and sneezes. You can still help small businesses across the state that have had significant financial impacts and need your support now more than ever. We encourage you to buy gift certificates, shop online, get takeout/delivery from local restaurants and donate when possible. Here’s a story on how to support Oregon businesses during this time. 

Are Oregon State Parks are open now?

On May 6, 2020, limited day-use services at eight select state parks began. Other state parks will slowly return to offering services starting the week of May 11. Here is a state park status map that shows all parks that have reopened. Note: Most coastal parks are still closed  

Can I go camping if I’m with my family/household?

Camping at state parks is not allowed at this time. Decisions around camping will likely be made after May 25. Federal land managers and local city and county parks may have different rules around camping. Please make sure to check with the site you want to visit to know its current rules. But again, non-essential travel remains limited and it’s still important to stay local. Remember, many rural outdoor destinations have limited health care facilities and are not equipped to welcome an influx of visitors at this time. Read specific guidance from the governor’s office for outdoor recreation organizations here.

Why are ski areas open if camping is not allowed?

It’s complicated. There are multiple executive orders that are currently active and layer on top of each other. On May 15, the Governor released Executive Order 20-25, which urges Oregonians to stay home whenever possible, but also included language allowing ski areas to open if they can adhere to OHA guidelines. Whether you live in an area that is in Phase 1 or “Phase 0” the most important thing to do is stay local.

What do I need to know before visiting one of the reopened state parks or other outdoor recreation sites?

As recreation sites gradually reopen to the public, visitors will need to adjust their habits. Right now, it’s important to only visit open sites that are close to home, avoiding popular areas and peak hours. Its not the right time to travel far to get outside. Visiting a distant park can put a community’s limited resources at risk and make you less prepared for unexpected closures. Help share messaging on how to be safe and responsible in Oregon’s outdoors.  

  • Please be prepared and flexible with your plans. If a park appears crowded, leave and come back at another time. 
  • Stay home if you’re sick. 
  • If you visit, stay local and close to home– meaning less than 50 miles in urban areas. 
  • Only visit the park with members of your household. 
  • Bring all supplies—food, water, hand cleanser—needed for a short trip.  

If there’s space at the park, please:

  • Wear a face covering. Homemade is fine.
  • Stay at least six feet away from people who aren’t from your household. Further apart is better.
  • Cover your cough with a tissue (then throw it away), or the inside of your elbow.
  • Leave no trace: Pack out everything you bring with you.
  • Stick to low-risk activities to reduce stress on local emergency response and health care systems.
  • Keep your visit short. Restrooms and other buildings may be closed.
  • Watch for signs at the park for more information. 

Is there a Public Service Announcement about COVID-19 in Oregon?

In addition to the Executive Order issued on March 23 the State of Oregon launched a public awareness campaign public awareness campaign with Portland-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, the  Oregon Health Authority, and public health partners to inform Oregonians about the urgent importance of staying home to save lives.

About The
Author

Jaime Eder
Jaime is on the Communications team at Travel Oregon. When she’s not spending time at home with her family and sweet pup, you can find her soaking up the sunshine in Central Oregon while sipping a local IPA.

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