Baker County's risk level under Oregon's COVID-19 guidelines will risk from the lowest risk level to high risk starting Friday, April 23, and remain there through at least May 6, Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday afternoon.
The county has been at the lowest or moderate risk level since Feb. 12.
The change that takes effect April 23 is based on the county recording 79 new COVID-19 cases during the most recent two-week measuring period, April 3-17.
That would actually put the county into the highest risk level — "extreme" — but Brown recently changed the system so that no county will move into the extreme level so long as either fewer than 300 people are hospitalized statewide for COVID-19 treatment, or the hospitalization rate has increased by less than 15% in the past week. As of Monday, April 19, there were 243 people being treated in hospitals for the virus.
Baker County and 10 other of Oregon's 36 counties would have qualified to move into the extreme risk under the previous system.
Among the effects on local businesses and events when Baker County moves from lowest to high risk:
• Restaurants, bars, theaters and indoor gyms and fitness centers
The current limit of 50% capacity goes to 25% of capacity or 50 total people, whichever is fewer. Restaurants, bars and theaters must close at 11 p.m., instead of the current midnight.
• Retail stores, including grocery stores
The current limit of 75% of capacity drops to 50%
• Outdoor recreation, including K-12 sports
Current limit of 300 people drops to 75