Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 23rd, 2020 at 11:40 am
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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