Changing Public And Social Affairs Due to COVID-19

​The City has placed limits on gatherings in City-owned public spaces and use of City facilities. Check the City's COVID-19 information center for all City service impacts.

The City's emergency declaration affects, public spaces and many social practices.  The Salem City Council declared a state of emergency that allows the City to take rapid action in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of its spread throughout the community.

The declaration cites threats to the health and safety of unsheltered residents of the city and increased risk to vulnerable populations of contracting COVID-19 through public gatherings.

The following questions and answers pertain to social and professional behaviors. 

This is an active webpage and the City welcomes your additions or questions to [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the limit on public gatherings?

The City is following State orders regarding indoor social get-togethers and gatherings. Statewide, the maximum capacity for an indoor social get- together is 10 people. 

Gatherings are different from indoor social events.  A gathering is a group of individuals meeting for common purposes including faith-based, civic, and cultural purposes.

Capacity limits for gatherings may vary depending on the phase of each county.

For phase 1 counties the maximum capacity for gatherings is:
50 people indoors ▪ 50 people outdoors
For phase 2 counties the maximum capacity for gatherings is:
50 people indoors ▪ 100 people outdoors

The City requires guests to use masks, face shields, or face coverings when physical distancing of six feet is not possible. If the Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance applies to the location where the gathering is being held, masks, face shields, or face coverings are mandatory. City residents planning a gathering should review OHA sector-specific guidance for locations where the Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance applies.

Do I need to wear a mask when in public spaces or indoors with other people? 

Masks, face shields, and face coverings are currently required statewide for offices and indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing of six feet is not possible. 

Can I walk downtown and in my neighborhood with other people?

Yes. Through the emergency declaration, which is uniformly enforced throughout our community, sidewalks are limited to active pedestrian use including walking or other human-powered transportation, such as bicycling.  Please adhere to social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Can I sit on a bench?

Yes. Benches are excluded from the emergency declaration. We cannot guarantee how recently the bench was sanitized. Please adhere to social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Should I call police if I see people or businesses or not following State order? 

Please do not call 911 if you see someone violating the State order.

If you have concerns that a business is not properly adhering to the State guidance, you can submit a form through the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at https://www4.cbs.state.or.us/exs/osha/hazrep/.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is the lead agency related to grocery and convenience stores. Consumer complaints regarding customer behavior or a lack of customer social distancing in the retail environment should be directed to https://oda.direct/complaints

How will the City enforce COVID -19 restrictions on public gatherings and face covering?

The City's police, parks, and code enforcement officers will work to provide reminders and masks as needed to the public with whom they interact.  In cases where the refusal to comply is egregious or where non-compliance includes other law violations, police officers retain discretion to determine whether issuance of a citation is appropriate. Chronic violations and significant incidents will be handled case by case.

The City will enforce State requirements by example in wearing masks in all City spaces and providing information to Salem residents about the importance of mask-wearing.  

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, has Salem Fire Department changed their response to calls?

We are responding to all calls. Per the Center for Disease Control and Oregon Health Authority guidelines, firefighters have personal protective equipment and may be wearing some of it when they arrive.