Earlier today, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order No. 20-12, requiring certain retail businesses to cease operations, and ordering other businesses to comply with work-from-home and telework requirements, or impose social distancing in the workplace.
Retail operations where close personal contact is basically unavoidable, such as amusement parks and hair salons, must close. However, stores that provide food, grocery, health care, medical, pharmacy, or pet store services are allowed to remain open. Food establishments (including bars and taverns) must still comply with the no-dine-rule established under an earlier executive order.
Retail businesses not specifically called out as requiring closure must adhere to social distancing requirements. This means that one person (an officer or employee) must be designated as the social distancing compliance officer to implement rules regarding social distancing that comply with the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 guidance for employers. Those businesses who do not will be ordered to close until compliance can be demonstrated.
Importantly, there is no specific mention of cannabis businesses. They were not designated specifically as “non-essential,” so would fall into the “other” category of retail businesses that must designate a compliance officer and comply with social distancing requirements. However, the order does specifically exempt from the closure or compliance requirements retail locations providing “health care” services, and many people rely on cannabis for a variety of ailments.
Given that the OLCC has made allowances for curbside delivery of cannabis products from dispensaries, and provided that the retail location can reduce contact between patrons and staff, dispensaries should be allowed to keep operating. We would recommend nominating a social distancing compliance officer, and complying with as many of the OHA’s social distancing requirements as are reasonable given the nature of the retail business.
All businesses that have the ability to have employees work from home or telework should put those options in place as soon as possible, but by Wednesday, March 25th at the latest. If it is not possible to have employees work from home (i.e., manufacturing) the business must nominate a compliance officer to implement and maintain social distancing policies that comply with the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 guidance for employers. Businesses that do not do so will be closed until they can comply.
Importantly, in addition to a potential closure of your business, any person or business that does not comply with the restrictions in the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order is subject to prosecution for a Class C misdemeanor.