Oregon's Gov. Kate Brown's Executive Order 20-03, a COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order was issued on March 8, 2020, and has been invalidated by Baker County judge's orders on May 18, only to be issued a temporary stay in the same evening of May 18--putting Kate Brown's Executive Order still in effect.
Brown's order has been extended to 60 more days, having an effect until July 6, which essentially goes against a law that allows public health emergencies to extend for only 28 days.
Gov. Kate Brown was sued by 10 churches on May 6 that argue that her executive orders violate their constitutional rights to assemble and worship.
Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Shirtcliff ruled Gov. Brown's executive orders as "null and void."
"The governor's orders are not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols at larger gatherings involving spiritual worship, just as grocery stores and businesses deemed essential by the governor have been authorized to do," Judge Shirtcliff stated.
Gov. Brown filed an appeal of the County Judge's decision to the Supreme Court in hopes of keeping the restriction in effect.
Gov. Brown expressed her concern for the national pandemic in a statement, "From the beginning of this crisis, I have worked within my authority, using science and data as my guide, heeding the advice of medical experts. This strategy has saved lives and protected Oregonians from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Shirtcliff's ruling of Gov. Brown's orders being "null and void" will be at a pause until the higher court considers the issue. For now, Brown's orders are still in effect.
Although attending church may be difficult at the moment, we hope that Oregonians are still able to have a time of worship in their homes.