(Natural News) Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said that Oregonians should call the police if they find out that their neighbors are violating the state’s latest Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions. These new restrictions include limits to the number of people allowed to congregate in private gatherings.
“Look, this is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake,” said Brown on Friday, Nov. 20, during a virtual interview with KGW 8.
“What do neighbors do? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”
The new regulations have banned certain activities, such as dining in at restaurants and going to the gym, outright. Severe restrictions have also been placed on other activities. Faith-based gatherings such as worship services are limited to 25 people if done indoors and 50 people outdoors. Private gatherings in homes are only allowed for groups with six people or fewer.
Many retailers and other businesses are allowed to continue operating with very few changes to their routine.
Going against the new restrictions, known as “freeze” measures, is considered a class C misdemeanor. People caught in violation of them could face a fine of $1,250, up to 30 days in jail or both. (Related: Planning to see family for Thanksgiving? NBC has contempt for you.)
In a press briefing held on Nov. 13, Brown said that she has ordered the Oregon State Police (OSP) to work with local law enforcement units to enforce the new measures and potentially arrest and charge people who fail to follow them.
“In terms of individuals, I am not asking you – I am telling you to stop your social gatherings, your informal social gatherings, and your house parties and to limit your social interactions to six [people] and under, not more than one household. I am asking that immediately. I will take stronger legal action as appropriate.”
The governor even said that she will be limiting her own Thanksgiving celebrations to just her and three other people – her husband, his daughter and her fiance.
“I know it doesn’t look like the Thanksgiving holiday we’ve all been planning for weeks, and I know it’s really, really hard,” she said, “but unfortunately, it’s a necessity right now.”
The freeze took effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and will last for two weeks, except for Multnomah County – the state’s most populated county and home to the city of Portland – where it will last for four weeks.
Plan to arrest people for celebrating Thanksgiving comes under heavy fire
The governor’s freeze measures have already faced a lot of criticism from individuals and groups who believe they are a violation of their rights.
The sheriff’s office of Marion County has already stated that they will not be arresting anybody who violates Brown’s freeze orders, stating, “We recognize that we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic, and we believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”
Sheriffs and law enforcement personnel are not the only ones who have voiced their criticisms. Prominent members of the Oregon Republican Party have also jumped to call the governor’s freeze unconstitutional.
Tootie Smith, the incoming chairwoman of Clackamas County, wrote on her Facebook page that she was going to deliberately violate the governor’s freeze order, saying that she will be celebrating Thanksgiving “with as many family and friends as I can find. Gov. Brown is wrong to order otherwise.”
Sen. Brian Boquist of Oregon’s 10th senate district wrote an open letter to the OSP asking the state officers to not enforce Brown’s new freeze measures because she “appeared to have created new laws.” Boquist also said that enforcing the measures will lead to “extrajudicial armed raids against private citizens.”
Other critics have also pointed to how the new freeze is being inconsistently applied. Bars, restaurants and gyms have to shut down, but large indoor retailers and other businesses are allowed to remain open with only one restriction – that they limit in-store capacity to 75 percent.
Furthermore, while Brown has railed on and on about canceling Thanksgiving, she has said nothing about in-person shopping on Black Friday, which public health experts say will be much more dangerous for people than having dinner with family and friends.
Brown responded to her critics by calling them all “irresponsible” and alleging that they are “politicians seeking headlines” and not dedicated public servants who are looking out for the welfare of their constituents.
“This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” said Brown. “We have too many sporadic [coronavirus] cases in Oregon. We can’t trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”
Oregon is averaging a new high of 1,241 new coronavirus cases per day. Hospitalizations have also been steadily climbing, with 456 people actively hospitalized, 44 more than on the previous week.
Follow Pandemic.news for more on the measures states are imposing in an effort to deal with the coronavirus.