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Bike shops can remain open under Oregon Governor’s ‘stay home’ order

Posted by on March 23rd, 2020 at 11:40 am

Most shops, like Upcycles in Woodlawn, have implemented serious distancing procedures already.
(Photo: Upcycles)

Amid a growing number of coronavirus infections and pressure from concerned Oregonians and public health officials, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order to encourage people to minimize physical contact.

The “Stay Home, Save Lives” order clarifies which type of businesses must close and how to go outdoors without violating the order. Bike shops are not on the list of businesses that are required to close. The Governor has also not prohibited or discouraged bicycling. In fact, “biking in your neighborhood” is among the things called out in her official statement — as long as you maintain six or more feet distance between yourself and other riders.

Other states and counties that have issued stay home or “shelter in place” orders included a list of “essential” businesses that could remain open. We’ve been pleased to see bicycle shops explicitly included in that list in places like Delaware and the California Bay Area.

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Portland’s 50 or so bike shops have proven their value to our community in the past week as our streets and paths have seen a marked increase in cycling. As our spreadsheet makes clear, almost all local bike shops remain open. Their owners are staying abreast of coronavirus conditions and health guidelines and are adjusting customer access protocols accordingly.

Tom Martin of TomCat Bikes serving the Brooklyn neighborhood in southeast Portland shared with us that he’ll stay open until he’s forced to close. “I feel a sense of duty to remain open for food and package couriers who are going to be in high demand for the next few weeks. I’m offering discounts for those riders. They deserve it.”

If you plan to ride a bike during the “stay home” period, you should ride solo. Group rides are not recommended because it’s difficult to keep a safe distance and wind-blown bodily fluids could result in infection. Even if you ride solo, keep in mind that you are putting yourself at greater risk of injuries that might require hospitalization and take up vital capacity that will be needed for COVID-19 patients.

Keep in mind that the order comes with the threat of enforcement. Anyone found to be disobeying the order is subject to a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both.

For more on Governor Brown’s latest order, see her COVID-19 website.

UPDATE, 1:20 pm: To put some teeth behind the order, the Portland Police Bureau issued a statement today explaining how they’ll enforce the new rules:

“Officers will attempt to educate violators of the order first, from a distance, in accordance with the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Every effort will be made to gain voluntary compliance with the Governor’s order and provide a warning,

If community members do not adhere to the officer’s direction, they are subject to criminal citation for Interfering with a Police Officer-ORS 162.247 and Penalties for violation of the executive order-ORS 401.990, which are misdemeanor crimes. Criminal citation is a last resort measure and the public is highly encouraged to be aware of the order and voluntarily comply…”

It’s unclear how the PPB will determine if groups of people belong to the same isolation unit or not.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Jason
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Jason

Laurelhurst park was packed Sunday. As crowded as any weekend last summer. Either people don’t understand or they don’t care what’s at stake.

I think it’s good for bike shops to stay open, it’s a vital industry for those of us whom depend on their bike for transportation. I’m sure it’s a surreal experience, gotta keep reminding yourself there is a pandemic on. But it is a good time to go buy spare items if you can afford it.

Tom
Guest
Tom

“biking in your neighborhood”. If you leave your neighborhood while biking for exercise, would you be in violation of the order? I assume then I need to carry proof of address everywhere I go.

Fred
Guest
Fred

So glad to hear this news, and so glad the guv made the right call. Here’s my logic:

– My bike is essential for my transportation and health.
– My local bike shop is essential for allowing me to ride my bike.
– Therefore bike shops are essential services.

On point #2: The other day I needed a repair I could not make by myself, so I needed to take my bike to my local bike shop, who made the repair and got me back on the road. Otherwise I’d be walking and unable to get the essentials I need to live.

Kai
Guest

Thanks for using a photo of my shop Upcycles for your story! I’m taking further steps to reduce in-person interaction with customers, by encouraging appointments and trying to communicate and take payments solely by phone. My sign now reads:

To minimize exposure:
1. Knock so I know you’re here
2. Call me on your cell at 503-388-0305
3. Let’s talk bikes!

Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Will the homeless be expected to follow these rules or will this be something else they are also exempt from?

interested but concerned
Guest
interested but concerned

This is a slightly re-worked post based on my original post in the Monday Roundup comments. I felt like this was a better place for this conversation, so I hope you don’t mind me posting again.

I’ve worked in Portland as a bike mechanic for the last 16 years. While I appreciate that bike repair services can be seen as essential, it’s work I don’t want to do right now. I don’t want to handle someone else’s grubby grips or bar tape. When I ride in cold weather, my nose runs, gets wiped on the thumb of my glove, and that glove goes right back on the handlebar. Porous cork-style bar tape seems like it would be extremely difficult to properly disinfect with just a quick spray of alcohol and a wipe with a paper towel.

I feel that the best way we can fight this pandemic is to eliminate contact as much as possible. Our family has been staying at home for the whole last week, getting out once to do all of our weekly grocery shopping, and going for walks and bike rides (while keeping our distance from others) to get exercise to replace my bike commute.

I’m conflicted. If the bike shop where I work was ordered to close, I could safely stay home and request unemployment assistance until the situation improves. If our business is seen as essential, and we decide to stay open, I can either come in to work each day and risk exposure to myself, my family, our customers and my co-workers, or I can stay home and will not be eligible for assistance.

I understand that keeping the doors open, even in a limited service capacity, can help the business to survive, but the more that we are all able to stay at home, the more of us can stay alive and out of the overloaded hospitals. I understand that others depend on their bikes for transportation, and are understandably reluctant to use Tri-met. I don’t have a good answer for this, but risking my life for barely more than minimum wage seems like a poor bargain.

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

I have been self quarantined for the last 3 weeks and went through either Pneumonia or CV19 and recovered. wanting to get on the bike in the worst way. Wondering if the 6 foot rule will still be on for WNBR.

Tom
Guest
Tom

How will police know who to pull over to investigate a violation of the code? What would constitute probable cause or reasonable suspicion?. Is just being outside a probable cause?

gtrain
Subscriber
gtrain

I’m confused, a week ago there was a BP article encouraging (to some extent) bike shops to close. Now bike shops are encouraged and applauded to stay open? Bike Farm as a collective decided to close as we did not feel that we could guarantee the safety of our patrons/volunteers. That we would be doing more harm than good as being another potential vector of the virus.

Momo
Guest
Momo

I’m very glad that bike shops are staying open because a bike is an essential mode of transportation during this crisis and not everyone has the skills to fix issues with what may be their one and only bike! As long as the right measures are taken, it should be safe. I just hope people stop doing group rides, that definitely makes me nervous.

pruss2ny
Guest
pruss2ny

not related to this story per se, but there are alot of small (bike) business owners on this site:

in bill currently being debated in us senate there is a mechanism whereby govt will effectively cover your payroll from 3/1-6/30 (if u are <500 employees) via a forgivable SBA loan. Sec1105 of s.3548.

assuming i'm not messing this up, would like to see every small business on this site get the US govt to cover their payroll for the next few months.

Pete
Guest
Pete

Toby Keith
Will the homeless be expected to follow these rules or will this be something else they are also exempt from?Recommended 9

You are an ugly person. Being homeless is a real walk in the park, yeah?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Tom
I assume then I need to carry proof of address everywhere I go.Recommended 0

Kinda seems like you’re complaining just to complain, which is not what people need to be doing right now. Shouldn’t you always be carrying your ID with you anyway?