Multnomah County will move to a lower risk status on Thursday, according to the governor.
It’s just in time to get more fans into the Portland Trail Blazers’ home opener of the NBA Playoffs.
Stadiums, churches and other places in low risk counties can create vaccine sections where capacity limits don’t apply and people can sit closer to each other if organizers check immunization cards people at the door.
Blazers CEO Chris McGowan said in a tweet that he expected around 8,000 fans at the Moda Center under the new rules. The Moda Center will continue to require all fans to wear a face mask, regardless of their vaccination status.
The Oregon Health Authority said it will share more details online Thursday on how the vaccinated sections for the sites work.
In general, more people are allowed to assemble indoors and outdoors as counties transition to low risk status. Restaurants, gymnasiums and theaters can increase their capacity to 50% occupancy. Faith-based institutions, retail stores and shopping malls can increase their capacity to 75% occupancy.
The Multnomah County Public Health Department, meanwhile, advises people to continue wearing masks indoors to avoid further infections. The ministry said that although it is safe, according to the Centers for Disease Control, so that fully vaccinated people can remove their masks in most settings, there is often no practical way of knowing who is vaccinated and who is not.
“The masks are working and we ask that you continue to mask yourself until our vaccination rates increase and our disease rates decline further,” said Director of Public Health Jessica Guernsey. “Thousands of people have been fully immunized in this county, but not in all neighborhoods or age groups. Almost a third of eligible people have yet to receive any vaccine, especially young people. “
Counties qualify for a lower risk status if they have vaccinated 65% or more of residents 16 and older and have a state-approved immunization equity plan.
They may also qualify if the spread of COVID-19 is low, according to parameters set by the public health agency.
Other counties that will see COVID-19 restrictions relaxed on Thursday are Baker, Curry, Grant and Tillamook. A total of eighteen counties will be in low risk status by the end of the week.