The Oregon Supreme Court Monday evening issued a stay blocking a decision earlier in the day by Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matt Shirtcliff that temporarily stopped the state from enforcing Gov. Kate Brown's executive orders restricting certain activities due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That means the executive orders will remain in effect statewide.
After a 20-minute hearing Monday morning at the Baker County Courthouse, Shirtcliff granted a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the governor May 6.
The next step is for attorneys from both sides to submit responses to the Supreme Court related to the governor's request to vacate the preliminary injunction Shirtcliff issued. Those responses are due by May 22, according to the decision by Thomas A. Balmer, presiding justice for the Oregon Supreme Court.
Brown issued a statement this evening on the Supreme Court's ruling:
“Following swift action by the Oregon Supreme Court, my emergency orders to protect the health and safety of Oregonians will remain in effect statewide while the court hears arguments in this lawsuit.
“From the beginning of this crisis, I have worked within my authority, using science and data as my guide, heeding the advice of medical experts. This strategy has saved lives and protected Oregonians from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are no shortcuts for us to return to life as it was before this pandemic. Moving too quickly could return Oregon to the early days of this crisis, when we braced ourselves for hospitals to be overfilled and ventilators in short supply.
“The science remains clear: by physically distancing, wearing face coverings, staying home as much as possible and only gradually reopening our communities we can save lives and keep Oregonians safe.
“We all look forward to visiting our loved ones in nursing homes, sending our children to school, and going to the grocery store without fear of spreading this disease. But the simple fact remains, COVID-19 is here in Oregon, and lives are at stake.”