New rules for Oregon businesses

Oregon Executive Order Allows Previously Closed Businesses to Reopen

— While Offering Specific Guidance for Retailers
By Daniel Walker
Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm,

Today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-25, which provides a framework for Oregon’s gradual reopening. The process proceeds through three phases, with each phase gradually easing restrictions on businesses and social gatherings.

As outlined in a prior E-Alert, Oregon’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order did not close all consumer-facing businesses. Rather, specific business sectors were ordered to close while many were allowed to stay open under strict social distancing polices. Effective May 15, the following businesses, which were previously ordered to close until further notice, are now allowed to reopen:

Furniture stores, jewelry shops, boutiques, art galleries, and ski resorts.

In contrast, the following businesses must remain closed until either the state as a whole, or the county where the business operates, receives Phase I approval:

– Shopping: Indoor and outdoor malls (NOTE: mall businesses not subject to the original closure, such as food, grocery, medical, pharmacy, or pet store services may remain open).
– Entertainment: Amusement parks, aquariums, arcades, bowling alleys, dance studios, fraternal organization facilities, hookah bars, indoor party places (including jumping gyms and laser tag), museums, non-tribal card rooms, skating rinks, senior activity centers, social and private clubs, tattoo/piercing parlors, theaters, and youth clubs.
– Grooming/Personal Care: Barber shops and hair salons, cosmetic stores, esthetician practices, spas (medical, day, facial), non-medical massage therapy services, and nail and tanning salons.
– Fitness: Gyms and fitness studios (including climbing gyms), tennis clubs, and yoga studios.
– Food and Drink Establishments: All food and drink establishments (excluding take-out).

As of publication, the only Oregon counties not approved for Phase I are: Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Jefferson, Umatilla, and Morrow.

New Retail Sector Guidance

While Oregon retailers have generally been allowed to operate if they comply with Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) guidance, many chose to temporarily close due to the Governor’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order. In anticipation that more retailers will begin to reopen, OHA issued the following guidance for retail stores, effective May 15:


– Maximum capacity is limited to the number of customers which can be in the store while maintaining at least six feet of distance between other customers and employees. This determination is made by store management, who should consider areas of the store prone to crowding, like aisles.
– Post visible signage that lists COVID-19 symptoms, encourages physical distancing, asks individuals with symptoms to stay home, and provides contact information for those in need of assistance.
– Frequently clean and sanitize work areas, high-traffic areas, and commonly touched surfaces in both customer/public and employee areas of the store. Wipe down changing room doorknobs, walls, and seating between each customer use.
– Require all employees to wear cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings. Businesses must provide cloth, paper, or disposable face coverings for employees.

To the extent possible, OHA also suggests that retailers consider implementing the following measures:

– Encourage customers to wear face coverings;
– Place see-through barriers between customers and cashiers/service counters;
– Create one-way paths through the shopping environment;
– Tape off six-foot markers for customers waiting in line;
– Prohibit customers from trying on items worn on the face;
– Have customers wash or sanitize hands before and after trying on clothes;
– Have employees wash or sanitize their hands before and after processing returned items; and
– Offer order ahead pick-up options.

The Governor’s order is clear that businesses may only operate if they comply with OHA’s new guidance. Retailers may find it beneficial to create temporary polices to help implement these new operating measures across departments and ensure employees are aware of the need for strict compliance.


It is unclear how or to what extent OSHA or law enforcement will enforce retailer non-compliance. However, the executive order is clear that retailers who fail to comply with the new OHA guidance may face temporary closure and/or monetary penalties.

We are following these developments closely and are available to address employer-specific questions and concerns.

For questions about reopening or for any other circumstances created by COVID-19, contact Daniel Walker at [email protected] or (503) 276-2130.
Visit for more resources. Registration is also still open for Barran Liebman’s May 19th Webinar: “Employment Law Guidance for Re-Opening & Re-Onboarding.” Register here.

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