Calling for an end to mandated lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Curry County Board of Commissioners said they would not enforce future closures of schools or businesses, or stay-at-home orders, if mandated by the state.
Although there are no current mandated closures due to the virus, COVID-19 has found new footing in the community. The surge has caused many local businesses to close doors temporarily, due to employees contracting the virus or having a potential exposure.
On July 29, Gov. Kate Brown announced masks would be required at K-12 schools statewide for the 2021-22 school year. Possibly foreseeing future COVID-19 related mandates from the governor’s office, the board unanimously decided they would not enforce some rules.
“All employees and agencies of Curry County shall not assist in the enforcement of business closure, school closure or stay-at-home directives under the Executive Orders of the Governor relating to the goronavirus pandemic,” according to the resolution.
Commissioner Court Boice said his intention was not to defy the state, but to maintain control of local decision-making.
“Everything got hit so hard last year, and even well into 2021, that we had some of those decisions taken away from us. That doesn’t mean we would have voted differently than what the state mandated...but in the interest of our businesses, our schools, our veterans, our seniors and our retired people, we want to be very much involved in that,” he said.
Commissioner Chris Paasch said this move was to protect constitutional rights. He added he was also opposed to businesses mandating vaccines for their employees, which many major companies have already done, including Facebook, Google and Ford.
“I’m in favor of letting Washington know that one little county in Oregon would like to have our Constitution back,” said Paasch.
As for the vaccine, Boice said he believes it is the best way to defeat the virus, however, he would never force someone to take it.
“This is not in any way to suggest that we are not encouraging people to take the vaccine, but it is their personal choice.”