LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- The community and county officials are looking to what the future holds as counties begin applying for phase two.
So far, Coos and Douglas counties are among those that have submitted requests to Gov. Kate Brown. Many counties have been in phase one for two weeks, meaning they can apply for the next step. If approved, some counties could open in phase two as soon as June 5.
The specifics of phase two are still being worked out and will be based on data collected in phase one.
However, Brown shared three new criteria that must be met before moving forward in a letter sent out to county leaders Thursday night.
READ THE FULL LETTER HERE: GOV. BROWN RELEASES PHASE TWO GUIDELINES
The original requirements include lower hospitalization rates for coronavirus than the flu at this time of year. Counties must show a decline in hospitalizations since the beginning of phase one and must continue contact tracing. Hospitals must have a capacity to handle a possible 20 percent surge.
The new criteria require that any new case be contact traced within 24 hours. Those new cases must be traced to a positive case. And the number of new cases cannot exceed the testing rate in a county by 5 percent.
One Springfield resident said Lane County's actions during phase one prove that we are ready to take the next step.
"It’s been embedded in us now to keep safe distance and to stay healthy. We all know that and we are adults and adults can help children. Let’s get back to the way life used to be,” Felicia said.
If Lane County is approved for phase two, more office work will be allowed and in-person gatherings of up to 100 people may be allowed as long as social distancing is in place. Finally, visitation to nursing homes will be allowed with limitations.
With governor approval, Lane County could enter phase two of reopening as early as next Friday.
One family member of someone in assisted living said that day cannot come soon enough.
“To see her face-to-face and be able to look at the mail with her, show her stuff on the phone, play a game with her, something we haven’t been able to do in two months, it will be great,” Nancy Stotz said.
Brittany Quick-Warner with Eugene Chamber of Commerce said taking this next step will be crucial in helping our economy survive.
“As a business community, a lot of our businesses are ready and those who aren’t have the flexibility to wait a little longer to open. So we really should embrace moving into phase two and get more people back into the offices,” Quick-Warner said.
She said a lot of businesses who have reopened are dealing with a lack of consumer confidence -- meaning a lot of people still don't feel safe to go out yet.
They launched a business and consumer pledge today called #LOVELANEBIZ which will allow people to see exactly what local businesses are doing to keep them safe to help minimize their fears.