Oregon businesses categorized as “extreme risk” for coronavirus will reopen on New Year’s Day if they follow the lead of a town mayor who tried to spark a movement with an open letter to the governor.
“Governor Brown, we are opening,” Sandy, Ore., Mayor Stan Pulliam wrote on Facebook.
The mayor of the town of about 11,000 people in the shadows of Mount Hood is pushing for businesses to ignore Brown’s three-month extension of a state-of-emergency that would have expired Sunday. He partly chose New Year’s Day because government and state agencies are closed.
“We are begging you to realize there are casualties to this virus that go far beyond the intensive care unit,” Brown wrote. “Continuing to dig into this self-inflicted wound will eventually cause us all to bleed out.”
Pulliam, writing that his movement is growing “exponentially,” took to the Fox News national airwaves to make his case.
“Small communities like mine across Oregon, we’re tired of the double standards,” Pulliam said on Fox News. “Neighbors are able to pack into malls and support corporate America but, for some reason, we can’t sit down and support a local business owner along Main Street. The double standards have to stop.”
Beyond financial implications, Pulliam wrote that the business restrictions are causing depression and anxiety. A Salem, Ore., hair salon owner filed a $100,000 civil right suit against the governor in May.
Pulliam is advocating that businesses open to restrictions at one level lower than their current status in Brown’s four-tier system. That would mean businesses in “extreme risk” areas would open by abiding with masking, socially distancing and lower-capacity rules for “high risk” areas.
Pulliam compared the state response to burning down a house to remove a mouse. Perhaps his metaphor would have worked better with a more deadly creature.