Salon customers’ hair will grow long, and for some, gray. Retail therapy will be limited. And any exercise Oregonians get in the coming weeks — or worse, possibly months — won’t be at the gym.
And for the businesses that offer these services, and the employees who work there, the future is suddenly looking a lot more uncertain.
Gov. Kate Brown issued an order Monday for Oregonians to stay home to the maximum extent possible, and mandated the shutdown of additional businesses, among them hair salons, retail stores and gyms.
Local businesses included in the new order scrambled to find solutions.
Misty Ross, owner of the Hair Garage salon in Roseburg, said she would not be charging hairstylists, all of whom are independent contractors, fees for renting their spaces during the closure. She also said she was pushing back appointments to May, hoping that the worst of the crisis would pass by summer, as typically happens with a flu season.
“I want there to be some light at the end of the tunnel for all of us,” Ross said.
Vicki Nielsen, owner of Northwest Lifestyles clothing store in Roseburg, said she was gearing up to offer online clothing purchases, and she plans to offer delivery service.
“We’ll get through this,” Nielsen said. “We’re trying to be creative and stay positive.”
The governor issued the order Monday morning after having been reluctant to do so at the end of last week.
The order comes after Sunday’s announcement that all state parks would be closed Monday. The governor mentioned Oregonians who flocked to the coast over the weekend as part of the reason why the new rules have been put in place.
“We are learning more about this virus and how people react to it every day. Not just from a medical standpoint, but from a social and behavioral standpoint,” Brown said Monday in a press release.
“I started by asking Oregonians to stay home and practice social distancing. Then I urged the public to follow these recommendations. Instead, thousands crowded the beaches of our coastal communities, our trails, our parks, and our city streets, potentially spreading COVID-19 and endangering the lives of others across the state. Now, I’m ordering it. To save lives and protect our community,” Brown said.
As of Monday, 191 Oregonians had tested positive for COVID-19 and five had died. The number of actual infections is unknown because few tests are available.
Public health officials across the country are trying to slow the spread of the disease, often referred to as “flattening the curve,” in hopes of avoiding overwhelming the healthcare system as the pandemic grows.
Social distancing, or keeping away from other people when possible, is part of that effort.
Brown urged all Oregonians to stay home unless travel is absolutely necessary.
“Staying home both keeps you safe from infection, and ensures you do not unknowingly infect others,” Brown said.
If people leave home, they are supposed to keep 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with them.
Whereas the size of gatherings statewide had previously been limited to 25, now all nonessential social and recreational gatherings are banned, if a distance of 6 feet can’t be maintained between participants.
Individuals must avoid travel if possible, except where that travel is essential. Examples of essential travel include assisting family members or the elderly, going work or going to get food.
The new order also closes additional businesses, specifically listing indoor and outdoor malls, museums, senior activity centers, theaters, arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks and yoga studios, among others.
The order also closes playgrounds, sports courts, skate parks and other outdoor recreation facilities.
Restaurants and coffee establishments will still be allowed to offer takeout and delivery services.
Stores, including those in malls, which provide food, groceries, health care, pharmacy or pet store services are allowed to remain open.
Childcare facilities now must limit groups to 10 children and must prioritize children of first responders and health care professionals.
Those who break the rules will be considered an immediate danger to public health and can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,250 fine.
Starting Wednesday, workplaces must also do everything they can to allow their employees to work from home, and cannot allow them to work at the office if they can work at home.
Where that’s not possible, businesses must create and enforce social distancing.
Government offices will also close on Wednesday wherever possible.