Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday that Lincoln County will be among seven counties in Oregon to move from the “moderate” to “high” risk category in the state’s COVID-19 framework, reducing allowed occupancy at local businesses.

Florence Pourtal, deputy director of Lincoln County Public Health, told the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners Monday she expected the move. “It is very likely that we will move from moderate risk category and go back into the high risk category,” she said, given that there’d been 25 COVID-19 cases in Lincoln County in the first five days of April, and the county’s new case rate for the previous two weeks was 109.8 per 100,000 residents.

Counties with a case rate of 100 or more per 100,000 are classified as high risk.

Pourtal urged continued adherence to public safety measures. “I know everybody’s tired and I know we keep on hearing this, but keep wearing a mask, keeping physical distance, washing your hands regularly, and now that we have vaccines available, getting your vaccine.”

She noted the possibility that a more infectious variant of the virus could be responsible for the increase in cases, and she said Samaritan Health Services sent six samples to the Oregon State Public Laboratory to be tested for the presence of such variants.

Because of the new risk classification, as of Friday, April 9, restaurants in Lincoln County will be limited to 25 percent capacity indoors, down from 50 percent under moderate risk, and indoor entertainment, recreation and fitness establishments will have the same limitation. Retail store capacity will drop by one third, from 75 to 50 percent, the same as the capacity reduction at indoor malls.

Outdoor venues will have capacity cut in half, from 150 people to 75. Capacity at faith institutions will drop from 50 to 25 percent inside, and from a maximum of 250 people outdoors to 200.

Social and at-home gathering size will be reduced from a maximum of eight people to six from two households.

Lincoln County will remain in the high risk category until at least April 22. For a full list of restrictions, see tinyurl.com/y7vpk7b4

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