With just a few sleeps left between now and Turkey Day, much of the nation is on edge.
That’s because the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be picking up steam just as Americans begin to be pushed indoors and into close quarters, either by the the colder weather or by the desire to gather with friends and family.
This has been a difficult situation for state and local officials to cope with, as they looks to balance our individual freedom with the safety of the population as a whole.
In Oregon, it certainly appears as though personal freedom has taken a backseat in this balancing act…but with no way of telling how the new restrictions will be enforced.
Just hours before a statewide lockdown and strict limit on social gatherings take effect, neither Oregon Gov. Kate Brown nor the people she put in charge of enforcement could say how authorities will ensure people comply.
Unlike earlier in the pandemic, the governor’s latest order came with a stern warning and a promise that the rules will be enforced. Brown said she directed Oregon State Police to begin coordinating with local police and sheriffs to regulate in-home gatherings.
She pointed out that violating her order could result in a Class C misdemeanor conviction, which includes the possibility of jail time.
“In terms of individuals, I am not asking you,” she said last week. “I am ordering you.”
And there was more:
[…] Charles Boyle, the governor’s spokesman expanded on that: “… If people aren’t going to take this virus seriously, we are prepared to offer consequences. The Governor’s recent statement on partnering with law enforcement is a punctuation mark to hold people accountable in making smart choices that can save another’s life.”
So with new restrictions starting on Wednesday and doctors blaming social gatherings for the COVID-19 spike, the basic rule state leaders seem to want the public to adopt is common sense.
Here’s where it gets downright Orwellian:
They want Oregonians to call Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration if they see a business violating the rules — not 911. And Portland Police stressed that people who spot their neighbors having overly large parties should call the non-emergency dispatch line, rather than treating the violation as an emergency.
Who knew that narcing on your neighbors could become a new Oregon tradition?
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