Kevin Mannix’s Synopsis of Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Orders Relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Governor Kate Brown has issued 19 Executive Orders relating to the coronavirus pandemic between March 8, 2020 and May 1, 2020. These Orders themselves demonstrate that the Governor is addressing a public health emergency constituting a catastrophic disaster as defined in Article X-A of the Oregon Constitution.
The following is a synopsis of these 19 Executive Orders.
The Governor found that the novel infectious coronavirus has created a threat to public health and safety and constitutes a statewide emergency. The Governor noted that COVID-19 presents a high potential public health threat. The Governor directed the Oregon Health Authority and the State Public Health Director to take all actions necessary and authorized under state law to respond to, control, mitigate, and recover from the state of emergency, including but not limited to deploying emergency volunteer health care professionals, designating emergency health care centers, creating and requiring the use of diagnostic and treatment guidelines, and issuing guidelines for private businesses regarding appropriate work restrictions. The Order contained additional provisions authorizing agencies to take action. The Order declared that the state of emergency shall exist for 60 days from the date of the Executive Order unless extended or terminated earlier by the Governor. The Order was entered on March 8, 2020.
This Executive Order, entered on March 12, 2020, noted that the Oregon Health Authority had made recommendations based on which the Department of Human Services imposed restrictions and protective measures to limit visitors to long term care facilities to only essential personnel. The Order noted that the World Health Organization had announced that COVID-19 is a global pandemic. The order noted that, in order to slow the spread of the disease, and to protect Oregonians who are at highest risk for contracting the disease, the Governor found that immediate implementation of social distancing and community mitigation measures are necessary. Accordingly, the Governor prohibited large social, spiritual and recreational gatherings of 250 people or more, statewide; described the prohibited gatherings to include, but not be limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based, and sporting events, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, and any similar events or activities if a distance of at least (3) feet between individuals cannot be maintained. In that Order, the Governor directed that it did not apply to school attendance, places of employment, grocery stores, or retail stores. The Governor ordered that, beginning March 16, 2020, any person found in violation of the order is subject to the penalties described in ORS 401.990. The Order was stated to remain in effect until April 8, 2020.
Executive Order 20-06.
On March 17, 2020 the Governor entered a third Executive Order relating to the coronavirus pandemic. The Governor reiterated the recognition that there was a high potential public health threat to citizens of Oregon due to respiratory disease from the novel coronavirus, which has the potential to cause serious illness or loss of life. The Governor recognized that the World Health Organization had declared the pandemic a public health emergency of international concern. The Governor recognized an abnormal disruption of the market where the emergency prevented ready availability of essential consumer goods and services. Accordingly, the Governor provided that persons who believe that they had been subjected to unconscionably excessive prices for essential consumer goods due to this disruption should report that conduct to the Oregon Department of Justice. This Executive Order was designated as remaining in effect for 30 days.
The Governor reiterated her earlier actions in Executive Orders. She stated the intent to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect Oregonians who are at highest risk for contracting the disease, and to help avoid overwhelming local and regional health care capacity. She found that immediate implementation of social distancing and community mitigation measures are necessary. She stated an intention to reduce person to person interaction with the goal of restricting transmission. Accordingly, she ordered that restaurants, bars, taverns, brew pubs, wine bars, cafes, food courts, coffee shops, clubs, “or other similar establishments that offer food or drink” may not offer or allow on-premises consumption of food or drink. She ordered that this prohibition apply statewide.
The Governor further ordered that establishments may offer food or drink for off-premises consumption or for delivery. As to such establishments, she required that they implement social distancing protocols of at least three feet between customers ordering, waiting, or in line. She also ordered that establishments must implement similar social distancing protocols for staff, whenever possible. She allowed exemptions for health care facilities, child care facilities, work places, essential government buildings, essential emergency response facilities, essential school based food programs, and essential shelter and meal programs serving vulnerable populations.
The Governor also prohibited social, spiritual, and recreational gatherings of 25 people or more. She required that this prohibition be applied statewide. This Executive Order rescinded Executive Order 20-05, prohibiting large gatherings, and replaced it with the directives of Executive Order 20-07. This Executive Order went into effect on March 17, 2020 and was placed in effect through April 14, 2020. The Governor ordered that the Executive Order be considered a public health law and that it may be enforced with any person found to be in violation of the Executive Order to be subject to the penalties described in ORS 401.990.
The Governor ordered that all public schools be closed to students from March 16, 2020, through April 28, 2020. The Governor ordered that public schools continue to receive allocations from the State School Fund, as if they were actually in session during the closure period.
The Governor ordered that public school meal programs continue, and that the schools provide for supplemental services and emergency management services, such as provision of child care for first responders, emergency workers, and health care professionals.
The Governor also ordered that public schools continue to regularly pay all employees of public schools, and public schools may require their employees to report to work to assist with the provision of supplemental services and emergency management activities. The Executive Order also provided that the Early Learning System Director was directed and authorized to waive, suspend, or amend existing administrative rules pertaining to child care, and to establish requirements for emergency child care. Finally, the Executive Order provided that the directives in the Executive Order shall have the full force and effect of law, and any existing laws, ordinances, rules and orders shall be inoperative in the extent that they are inconsistent with the Executive Order. This Order was entered on March 17, 2020.
This Executive Order, entered on March 19, 2020, ordered that Oregon colleges and universities maintain academic continuity with students by conducting courses through remote and online learning. The Governor ordered that colleges and universities be prohibited from conducting in person classroom, laboratory, and other instruction from March 21, 2020 through April 28, 2020. She provided an exemption to colleges and universities providing clinical, laboratory, or other in person instruction associated with courses required for the completion of health care related certificates, licenses, or degrees, or other certificates, licenses, or degrees, that are essential to emergency response and resiliency efforts, where no remote or online alternative is practicable. The Governor ordered that colleges and universities limit on-campus operations only to critical functions and shall employ social distancing measures, consistent with guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, for all on campus employees and residents. In what is a pattern for these Executive Orders, the Governor again provided: “the directives set forth in this Executive Order shall have the full force and effect of law, and any existing laws, ordinances, rules and orders shall be inoperative to the extent they are inconsistent with the exercise of the Governor’s emergency powers.”
The Governor found that personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to diagnosing and treating COVID-19 and in caring for individuals with COVID-19. The Governor found that there is a severe shortage of PPE in Oregon and across the nation. In order to conserve PPE and other health care resources for the State’s COVID-19 emergency response, the Governor directed that, no later than March 23, 2020, all elective and non-urgent procedures across all care settings that utilize PPE, including but not limited to, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient clinics, dental clinics and veterinary clinics, shall be cancelled. The Governor defined procedures or surgeries that would be exempt from these limitations. The Executive Order provided that it is effective immediately, and remains in effect for 90 days. This Order was entered on March 19, 2020.
The Governor found that people being evicted from their homes creates an additional risk for the transmission of COVID-19. The Governor ordered that law enforcement officers in Oregon were prohibited from serving, delivering, or acting on any notice, order or writ of termination of tenancy or the equivalent or any judicial action, that relates to residential evictions for non-payment. The Order, entered on March 22, 2020, was effective immediately and remains in effect for 90 days.
The Governor indicated that some Oregonians are not adhering to social distancing guidance provided by the Oregon Health Authority. The Governor ordered that nonessential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals cannot be maintained. The Governor ordered that individuals are prohibited from patronizing businesses that are closed pursuant to this Executive Order.
The Governor ordered that when individuals need to leave their homes or residences, they should at all times maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from any person who is not a member of their immediate household, to the greatest extent possible. The Governor stated that failure to comply with any of the provisions of this Executive Order “constitutes an imminent threat and creates an immediate danger to public health.”
This Executive Order also prohibited the operation of a list of businesses. This extraordinary list of businesses specifically included amusement parks, aquariums, arcades, art galleries, barbershops, hair salons, bowling alleys, cosmetic stores, dance studios, esthetician practices, fraternal organization facilities, furniture stores, gyms, fitness studios, hookah bars, indoor and outdoor malls, indoor party places, jewelry shops, boutiques, medical spas, facial spas, day spas, and nonmedical massage therapy services, museums, nail and tanning salons, nontribal card rooms, skating rinks, senior activity centers, ski resorts, social and private clubs, tattoo/piercing parlors, tennis clubs, theaters, yoga studios, and youth clubs.
The Governor provided that indoor and outdoor malls are not prohibited from operating to provide food, grocery, health care, medical, pharmacy, or pet store services. The Governor authorized the Oregon Health Authority to determine if additional business closures are necessary. The Governor exempted grocery, health care, medical, or pharmacy services from the closures ordered by this Executive Order.
The Governor also ordered all businesses and nonprofit entities with offices in Oregon to facilitate telework and work at home by employees to the maximum extent possible. The Governor ordered that work in offices is prohibited whenever telework and work at home options are available. The Executive Order also contained a number of restrictions on government office operations. The Order allowed child care facilities to remain open if they met specific limitations described in the Executive Order, but otherwise ordered that child care facilities be closed.
The Governor also ordered that all public and private campgrounds be closed. The Governor authorized the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to close any property or facility when proper social distancing cannot be maintained. The Governor ordered the immediate closure of all pools, skate parks, outdoor sports courts, and playground equipment areas. This Executive Order also directed individuals to minimize travel, other than essential travel to or from a home, residence, or workplace. All of the directives in this Executive Order were applied statewide, as has occurred in all these Executive Orders. The Executive Order was effective immediately when issued on March 23, 2020 and indicated that it remains in effect until terminated by the Governor.
The Governor indicated that further action is necessary to prevent termination of residential leases and the initiation of eviction proceedings during this emergency. The Governor ordered that landlords of residential properties in Oregon shall not, for reason of non-payment, terminate any tenants rental agreement or take any action to implement residential evictions. The Governor also ordered that landlords of nonresidential properties in Oregon shall not, for reason of non-payment, terminate any tenants lease or take any action to interfere with a tenant’s right to possession of the leased premises. The Order, entered April 1, 2020, was effective immediately and remains in effect for 90 days.
This Executive Order, entered on April 7, 2020, changed the termination date of Executive Order 20-07, which prohibited on-premises consumption of food or drink. Under this new Executive Order, Executive Order 20-07 remains in effect until terminated by the Governor.
Executive Order 20-15.
This Executive Order, entered on April 7, 2020, eliminated the termination date in Executive Order 20-06 and instead provides that Executive Order 20-06 remains in effect until terminated by the Governor. The only limitation is that the Governor periodically notify the Attorney General that the abnormal disruption of the market continues to exist.
The Governor found that, during this emergency, public meetings should be held via telephone, video, electronic or other virtual means, whenever possible, to keep Oregonians safe and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Governor ordered that public meetings of government bodies be restricted to meetings by telephone, video, or through some other electronic or virtual means, with minimal exceptions. The Governor modified the publication notification requirements as to public meetings, and authorized municipal corporations, to make reasonable expenditures for the continued operation of the municipal corporation, despite other restrictions that may exist. The Governor modified provisions as to hearings relating to tax supervising and conservation commissions and made other modifications to public hearing requirements. The Order, issued April 15, 2020, was effective immediately and remains in effect until terminated by the Governor.
This Executive Order modified Executive Order 20-09 to prohibit colleges and universities from conducting in person classroom, laboratory, and other instruction from March 21, 2020 through June 13, 2020. The Order was issued on April 17, 2020.
The Governor noted that eligible Oregonians will soon receive CARES Act recovery rebate payments. The Governor found that these payments are needed by vulnerable Oregonians to help pay for housing, food, medical, and other essential needs. The Governor ordered that all CARES Act Recovery Rebates shall be exempt from garnishment. The Executive Order contains some exceptions as to judgments in criminal actions that require the defendant to pay restitution or civil judgments against persons who have been convicted of criminal offenses. This Order was issued on April 17, 2020, and remains in effect until terminated by the Governor.
The Governor found that continued restrictions on the provision of child care are necessary to preserve public health and safety. This Executive Order extended the restrictions on licensed child care facilities set forth in Executive Order 20-12. It also extended and expanded the Early Learning Division’s authority to provide child care facilities to provide emergency child care services and other necessary services, in light of the needs of the ongoing public health emergency. This Order was entered on April 23, 2020.
The Governor ordered, pursuant to her powers as Superintendent of Public Instruction, and her emergency powers as Governor, that public schools and private schools are prohibited from conducting in-person classroom instruction during the effective period, designated as April 28, 2020 through June 30, 2020. The Executive Order contains detailed directives to public schools as to how they should operate and how they should continue to provide certain services. This Executive Order replaced the directives of Executive Order 20-08. This new Executive Order was entered April 23, 2020.
The Governor indicated that Oregon is at the point where it is possible to gradually resume elective and nonurgent medical procedures. The Governor ordered that elective and nonurgent procedures across all care settings that utilize PPE, shall not occur unless they meet the requirements of this Executive Order. The Governor ordered that on or after May 1, 2020 elective and nonurgent procedures across all care settings that utilize PPE are allowed, but only to the extent they comply with guidance or administrative rules issued by the Oregon Health Authority. The Governor continued her delegation of authority to the Oregon Health Authority to provide guidance regarding limitations and screening requirements for visitors to hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers. This Executive Order rescinded Executive Order 20-10 and replaced it. This Executive Order was entered on April 27, 2020.
This Executive Order noted that Executive Order 20-03 declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Oregon. It noted that Executive Order 20-03 was issued on March 8, 2020 and declared a statewide emergency for 60 days, through May 7, 2020. The Governor found that the novel infectious coronavirus continues to threaten public health and safety, and remains a statewide emergency. The Governor extended the state of emergency for an additional 60 days through July 6, 2020. This Executive Order was entered on May 1, 2020.