Safety for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is nearly here and many of us will take some time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. That might include visiting a memorial garden or cemetery during the three-day break. With questions continuing to surface about County Risk Levels and how guidance varies for fully vaccinated individuals, we thought it might be worthwhile to break down how you can safely spend your upcoming vacation.

Guidance for fully vaccinated folks

Individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” if it has been 14 days since they received the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or if it has been 14 days since they received the first and only dose of a single-dose vaccine.

On May 18, the Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals was updated to allow fully vaccinated individuals to forego mask wearing and physical distancing in certain settings. And while that’s a huge step toward getting back to normal, it’s important to note that not all settings will let you ditch your mask if you’re fully vaccinated. Businesses still have the right to determine their own masking and physical distancing policies throughout the state, which you can learn more about here.

County Risk Levels

As of May 27, 18 counties in total have moved to Lower Risk. Those counties are:

  • Baker
  • Benton
  • Curry
  • Deschutes
  • Gilliam
  • Grant
  • Harney
  • Hood River
  • Lake
  • Lincoln
  • Morrow
  • Multnomah
  • Sherman
  • Tillamook
  • Union
  • Wallowa
  • Washington
  • Wheeler

But what exactly does Lower Risk mean?

According to the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart, counties in Lower Risk (the lowest possible level a county can be in) can enjoy outdoor gatherings with up to 12 people, indoor gatherings with up to 10 people and a midnight closing time for both indoor and outdoor entertainment establishments like zoos, outdoor gardens, amphitheaters, concert halls and museums (Folks in the Portland area can even try to snag a ticket to the Portland Trailblazers playoff game against the Denver Nuggets!).

Ideas for where you can spend some time this weekend

In counties that aren’t at Lower Risk, it’s important that folks continue to keep their gatherings small, outdoors and physically distanced. However, no one is required to wear a mask outdoors anymore. OHA still recommends that people wear a face covering in crowded areas, especially if you are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Here are some low-risk ways for everybody to enjoy the three-day weekend:

  • Host a virtual watch party with loved ones and friends for the Trailblazers playoff game. Have everyone tune in on the same broadcast and cheer on Damian Lillard and co. as they try to make their way to an NBA championship. Find channels to watch the game here.
  • Visit a state park: More and more Oregon parks continue to open for use throughout the state. Click here to see which ones are open and plan a hike with your friends.
  • If you have a yard, spend some time gardening.
  • Find a new volunteering activity.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Vanport Mosaic Festival: See exhibits from artists, cultural organizers, historians, media makers, grassroots groups and nonprofits to “remember, repair, reclaim, and re-imagine our collective story.”
  • May in Wine Country: Enjoy the warm weather outdoors at one of the many wineries in Willamette Valley. Find a list of events here.
  • Portland Rose Festival’s Porch Parade: Watch colorful floats, marching bands and various community groups hit the streets of Portland on May 31.

Wildfire Reminder
Much of the state is currently experiencing drought. Some regions are already in fire season and have fire restrictions in place. Know and follow fire restrictions before traveling.

Motorists can help prevent wildfires by:

  • Staying on paved surfaces whenever possible. Avoid roadsides where flammables such as dry grass can come in contact with a vehicle’s hot exhaust system or catalytic converter.
  • Preventing throwing off sparks by ensuring that all parts of your vehicle, from mufflers to chains, are secure and tires have correct pressure.
  • Never tossing a lit cigarette or flammable materials from a vehicle.
  • Extinguishing all smoking materials completely and thoroughly, away from dry grass and fuels.
  • Carrying a fire extinguisher in the car and know how to use it.
  • Knowing local wildfire danger and restrictions.

For more information on travel and fire safety this holiday weekend read the news release.