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Oregon hits 70% COVID vaccination milestone

July 2, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon on Friday reached the milestone of 70% of adults having received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to officials from the state health authority.

“The 70% adult vaccination goal means we have a better chance to sustain a safe reopening,” said Patrick Allen, the director of the Oregon Health Authority. “But COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. It’s our goal to vaccinate eight in 10 people across Oregon, particularly adults in communities of color and other under-vaccinated groups.”

Health officials say the state reached the vaccination goal through the efforts of more than 660 vaccination sites, operated by health care providers, community based organizations, Tribal partners, health authorities, pharmacies, volunteers, the Oregon National Guard and retired healthcare workers.

Earlier this week, after more than 15 months of restrictions, Oregon fully reopened — lifting mask requirements, physical distancing and capacity limits.

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There are some exceptions, including federal rules; masks will still be required at airports, on public transportation and in healthcare settings. In addition, businesses can still require customers to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination to forgo wearing them.

In May Gov. Kate Brown said statewide COVID-19 related restrictions would not be lifted until the state reach the vaccination target of 70% of Oregon’s adults receive the first COVID-19 vaccine dose — with the goal of reopening by June 21.

However, the goal turned into a slow crawl and last week Brown announced the state would open latest by June 30, even if the statewide target was not meant.

In addition, on Wednesday in Washington state, restaurants, bars, gyms and stores were also allowed to resume full indoor capacity, up from the most recent limit of 50%, and physical distancing requirements were lifted.

One restriction that remains in place is a 75% attendance cap on indoor events of more than 10,000 people, unless the event verifies all attendees are vaccinated. Those restrictions will be reevaluated July 31.