Oregon Issues “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order

NOTE: Because the COVID-19 situation is dynamic, with new governmental measures each day, employers should consult with counsel for the latest developments and updated guidance on this topic.

On March 23, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order requiring all individuals to stay home to the maximum extent possible, prohibiting all non-essential social and recreational gatherings, limiting travel, and closing certain retail, childcare and other service-oriented businesses. While not a full shelter-in-place order as implemented in other states, Executive Order 20-12 also requires all businesses and non-profits with offices in Oregon to implement telework procedures to the maximum extent or to impose other workplace restrictions to enable social distancing. 

The provisions closing certain identified businesses take effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Provisions related to workplace restrictions take effect on March 25. Violations of the Order could result in a Class C misdemeanor, including a penalty of 30 days in jail or a $1,250 fine.

The following are key takeaways for employers regarding the Order.

Specific Businesses Closed

The Order mandates the shutdown of certain businesses where close personal contact is difficult to avoid. We recommend employers reference the complete list in the Order to determine if their business is included. Some of these businesses include:

  • Salons and barber shops;
  • Furniture stores and jewelry boutiques;
  • Gyms and fitness/yoga studios;
  • Indoor and outdoor malls or retail complexes;
  • Medical, facial, or day spas and non-medical massage therapy;
  • Museums;
  • Social and private clubs; and
  • Tattoo parlors.

Retail establishments not specifically identified in the Order can remain open only if the business designates an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. Retail businesses that fail to comply will be closed until compliance is established.

Specifically exempted from the Order were grocery, health care, medical or pharmacy services. In a prior order on March 17, 2020, the governor prohibited on-premises consumption of food and drink, effectively closing many restaurants, bars, cafes, coffee shops and other similar food and drink establishments except for take-out or delivery service.

The Order also indicates the list of businesses to close may be amended so we encourage employers to check the list periodically.

Workplace Restrictions

The Order also prohibits office work if telework or work-at-home options are possible. Employers with offices in Oregon must facilitate telework or work-at-home arrangements for employees to the maximum extent possible. If telework is impossible, then businesses must designate an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority. These policies must also include how an employer will maintain social distancing protocols for business-critical visitors.

Any business that violates the Order’s workplace restrictions will be closed until compliance is demonstrated.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.