Linn and Benton are among the counties where some shutdown restrictions can be eased starting Friday, Governor Brown announced this morning. In Albany there was other news on the corona front as well.
For restaurants, the governor’s announcement means they can open for sit-down service as long as a 6-foot distance between parties can be maintained. There can’t be more than 10 parties inside, and employees must wear face coverings.
No word on how many local restaurants will make use of this relaxation in the shutdown orders. Check with your local favorite to see if you can eat there or whether take-out service remains the only option for now.
Salons, barber shops and similar services can reopen too but must observe a number of conditions, including keeping a list of clients, and operators must wear masks.
Meanwhile, the city of Albany reported this morning on the latest results of wastewater testing for traces of the coronavirus. The city is taking part in a nationwide study by Biobot Laboratories in Somerville, Mass.
Samples taken on April 6 and 14 found the virus at levels corresponding to 5.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, of the Albany population. But results from sampling on April 21 showed “no virus detectable above about 1 in 7,500 people,” according to the city’s announcement.
There was no explanation of the discrepancy in test results, other than that the Biobot team “continues to refine their epidemiological model and methodology.”
Agencies in 42 states are participating in the study to identify the virus in wastewater before treatment.
Also on the corona front, the Albany City Council Wednesday took no action on a staff proposal to give a break to businesses struggling to stay afloat during the crisis. The proposal was to give qualifying businesses a credit on their water and sewer bills for up to six months so they could more easily pay other operating expenses.
The council had a lot of questions and qualms about this, and the proposal may come back for discussion or action at another meeting. Or not. (hh)