x
Breaking News
More () »

VERIFY: What qualifies as an essential business during the COVID-19 freeze?

The freeze has led to some confusion among KGW viewers who wonder why places like hair salons and tattoo parlors can remain open.

PORTLAND, Ore. — December 3 will mark the end of a statewide two-week freeze in Oregon in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection rates. Until then, only businesses designated as fitting with criteria imposed by the governor’s mandate will remain open.

The freeze has led to some confusion among KGW viewers who wonder why places like hair salons and tattoo parlors can remain open. KGW set out to Verify: What qualifies as an essential business during the COVID-19 freeze?

To find out more, we spoke to Liz Merah at the Governor’s Office. Merah clarified that since the beginning of the pandemic, the Governor’s Office has not designated businesses as essential and non-essential. Rather, they have specifically classified which businesses must remain closed and put in place clear criteria to follow for those that remain open.

Regarding the two-week freeze, Merah commented:

“Certain types of businesses that are considered high risk (for reasons such as requiring people to be gathered indoors for extended periods of time or being difficult to maintain strict physical distancing) are mandated to close or to restrict their operations, following specific guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).”

This means that personal service businesses (e.g., hair salons, tattoo parlors) and retail businesses can operate during the freeze as long as they follow OHA COVID-19 guidelines. Businesses like retail stores have been able to remain open for the entirety of the pandemic as long as they were able to implement and enforce physical distancing.

Merah added, “Any type of business not specifically listed in the Two-Week Freeze Executive Order may remain open, as long as the business follows all applicable statewide health and safety guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, listed under Statewide Guidance on this page.”

Gyms/fitness centers, museums, movie theaters, zoos, gardens, aquariums, venues and other designated facilities must close for the mandatory freeze. Grocery stores, pharmacies, personal service businesses, and retail stores will be open during the freeze, but they will be limited to a maximum capacity of 75%. Restaurants and bars will be limited to takeout exclusively.

To find out more about the Governor’s Mandated two-week freeze, check out our Covid freeze Q&A

Do you have something you want us to VERIFY? Let us know. Email us at Verify@kgw.com