Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Encourages Residents to Call Police on Neighbors Violating COVID Restrictions

Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem, Oregon, February 20, 2015. (Steve Dipaola /Reuters)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is encouraging residents to call the police on any neighbors who flout state COVID-19 restrictions, which include limiting in-home gatherings to a maximum of six people.

“This is no different than what happens if there’s a party down the street and it’s keeping everyone awake,” Brown said in an interview Friday. “What do neighbors do [in that case]? They call law enforcement because it’s too noisy. This is just like that. It’s like a violation of a noise ordinance.”

Last week the Democratic governor instituted a new round of restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state via executive order, including a two-week “freeze” limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than six people from no more than two households just ahead of Thanksgiving.

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Residents are also prohibited from eating out at restaurants and going to the gym, though faith-based gatherings of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are allowed.

Violators can face up to 30 days in jail, $1,250 fines or both. 

The Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a statement on Friday that it believes “we cannot arrest or enforce our way out of the pandemic.”

“We believe both are counterproductive to public health goals.”

Brown pushed back, calling criticisms of the new restrictions “irresponsible.”

“This is about saving lives and it’s about protecting our fellow Oregonians,” she said. “We have too many sporadic cases in Oregon. We can’t trace these cases to a particular source. We have to limit gatherings and social interactions.”

On Sunday, new COVID-19 cases reached a record high in the state for the third straight day, with 1,517 new infections recorded, bringing the state total to 65,170.

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