LEBANON, Ore. – Lebanon Mayor Paul Aziz is criticizing Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to enact a two-week freeze in the state to help combat COVID-19.
In a statement on Tuesday, Aziz said Brown “acted beyond her authority” and the impacts of the freeze will be “devastating to our community financially and on our citizens’ mental health.”
The new rules limit social gatherings to two households and a maximum of six people and will be in effect through the Thanksgiving holidays. Restaurants, gyms and other businesses are limited by the new rules, with some industries required to close entirely.
“It is not fair to continue to punish businesses such as food and fitness establishments that actually have very few if any infections from their business practice. Our businesses have done everything possible to stay open and keep our community safe,” Aziz wrote.
Aziz added Linn County has seen lower rates of infection.
“One of the most surprising comments that the Governor made was, ‘I am not asking you, I am telling you.’ She also has said that she is working with the Oregon State Police who will be working with local law enforcement to enforce her orders,” Aziz said.
Law enforcement officials from multiple agencies told KEZI 9 News they are focused on education first. An officer’s supervisor must give permission to dole out a fine, and arrests are a last resort.
Aziz said city police will not be citing or arresting anyone for violating the orders.
The city will be limiting some services involving public contact, and the senior center, City Hall, the library and police department will be closed.
“I do not agree with the forced closure of our economy and livelihood in our community. I ask that our community continue to support our local businesses. We need to lift up and support our local businesses, and that includes wearing a mask (whether or not you feel they work) when going into a business. Your refusal to do so at this point only serves to further punish our much-needed business community,” Aziz wrote.