For now, at least
The Oregon State Capitol has been closed for 16 months under safety measure against COVID-19. Now, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek are trying to justify the closure.
“Last March, we consulted with infectious disease doctors and public health officials about what changes were needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the Capitol. In the end, we made the very difficult decision to limit Capitol entry to legislators, essential staff, and members of the press.”
But what has changed? Last March 31 there were 67 COVID-19 cases and 17 hospitalized. On July 12, the day of their statement, there were 251 cases and 97 hospitalized. Have their experts changed their position after 16 months of viewing other states fairing better with no closures?
They seem to be relying on a vaccine to stop the spread, even though there is developing evidence that the vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from getting COVID-19. Still Senate Courtney and Representative Kotek say: “Over 70% of Oregonians 18 and older are now vaccinated against COVID-19 and community spread has reduced considerably. We are extremely grateful to Oregonians for stepping up to help beat this pandemic. With new guidance from the Oregon Health Authority and the lifting of county risk levels, we are excited to expand entry to the Capitol today to include members of the public.”
Oregonians are to be congratulated for enduring the lose of life, jobs, homes, and a good education for their children. And please don’t look at us for your lose. “The last year has been extremely hard on our state. Oregonians have suffered devastating wildfires, an ice storm, a historic heatwave, and extreme drought. Through it all, we have battled a global pandemic that has dramatically changed our daily lives,” say Courtney and Kotek.
Due to the ongoing Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety project, certain areas in the Capitol will continue to be under construction during the coming months. Access to the Senate and House wings will be limited to construction personnel only until December 2021. The State Street entrances and front steps will also be temporarily closed for construction. Visitors can use the North ADA entrances to enter the building.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Oregon State Capitol Visitor Services
staff will be bringing back many of the services they provide for visitors over the next few weeks:
- The Capitol Store will be open from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for the next few weeks. Visit their website or Facebook page for updates.
- Capitol tours will be self-guided for the week of July 12th.
- Guided tours will be offered daily at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. beginning July 19th. Beginning mid-August, guided tours will be expanded to four tours per day.
- Tower tours will resume in 2022.
With such a promise, and without another ‘emergency’, we can look forward to full access for the 2022 legislative session.
|Post Date: 2021-07-20 18:15:21||Last Update: 2021-07-20 18:22:58|