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Judge rules that Oregon virus restrictions are invalid

SeattlePI.com Tuesday, 19 May 2020
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying she didn’t seek the Legislature's approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state's social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.

Brown filed paperwork within hours seeking an emergency review by the Oregon Supreme Court and a hold on the ruling until the high court could take it up. Her attorneys had asked the judge to stay his ruling until that time, but he declined.

In a statement, Brown said: “The science behind these executive orders hasn’t changed one bit. Ongoing physical distancing, staying home as much as possible, and wearing face coverings will save lives across Oregon."

Scott Erickson, chief pastor of one of the churches behind the lawsuit, is waiting to see what the Supreme Court does before making any move to open the doors. Currently, his Peoples Church in Salem, Oregon, has drive-in church, with worshippers tuning in service on their radios from the parking lot, and livestreaming.

“We're going to wait until there's finality,” he said in a phone interview.

If the judge's ruling stands, Erickson's church, which 3,700 people normally attend regularly, will change its ways, the pastor said. It will adhere to 6-foot (2-meter) distancing, every other row would be empty and anything that people touch, like chairs and pews, will be wiped down before each service. Masks would be optional.

"It would certainly impact our capacity, but that’s where we’re at on this,” Erickson said.

In a seven-page opinion, Shirtcliff...
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Video credit: Idaho On Your Side - Published
News video: Judge rules that Oregon virus restrictions are invalid

Judge rules that Oregon virus restrictions are invalid 00:39

A judge in rural Oregon has declared Gov. Kate Brown’s coronavirus restrictions “null and void” statewide because she didn’t have her emergency orders approved by the Legislature.

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