On March 23, 2020 Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-12. The 8 page Order covers a lot of ground but this post will focus on criminal charges people face for violating the Order.
The Order directs people to stay in their homes. People may leave their homes for the following reasons, but must keep 6 feet away from others at all times:
- Outside recreational activities (walking, hiking, etc.) if they can maintain 6 feet of distance and the activities are non-contact.
- Essential travel to or from a home, residence or workplace.
- Getting food, shelter, essential consumer needs education, health care, or emergency services.
- For essential government services.
- To care for family, children, vulnerable people, pets, livestock.
- Travel as directed by government officials, law enforcement, or courts.
The Order expressly prohibits non-essential social and recreational gatherings (such as parties and celebrations) outside of a home or place of residence if a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals can’t be maintained. At first glance, it looks like a party at a home would be allowed but remember: people are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons as listed above.
Violation of the Order carries a maximum 30 days in jail and fine of $1,250.
In Portland, for example, police have stated that they will first issue warnings, and that people who don’t comply may be cited under the Executive Order as well as ORS 162.247 for Interfering with a Police Officer (failing to comply with a lawful demand). This charge is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a maximum 364 days in jail and fine of $6, 250.
Businesses that aren’t in compliance with the Order may be referred to their licensing agency. For example, bars not in compliance would be referred to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) for review. OLCC could then take action regarding the business’s license.
I hope our community is able to stay as safe and healthy as possible during this time, and that very few, if any, people and businesses are accused of violating the executive order. But know that, if you are cited by police or OLCC, I am ready to defend you.