Updated July 29, 2020

Multnomah County FAQs


Q: What is the County's plan for reopening?

Multnomah County is in  Phase 1 of reopening. Read more about the county’s plan to Open With Care.

Phase 1 reopening permits limited seated service in restaurants and bars, personal services by appointment,  limited use of gyms and fitness center, limited reopening of indoor and outdoor malls, and limited local gatherings (see Statewide Gatherings, Indoor Social Get-Together Guidance) – while following health, safety and physical distancing requirements.

Q:  How is the County addressing the inequitable burden of COVID-19 on communities of color?

Multnomah County is committed to supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color as part of its reopening plan and ongoing public health work. The County commits to:

  • Monitor cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by race and ethnicity and share these data publicly

  • Take action to reduce cases, hospitalizations, and deaths experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

  • Advocate for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to have access to hospital care and treatment, as well as safe spaces to isolate and recover 

  • Work with community organizations to increase access to basic needs and social services, especially for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with underlying conditions

  • Work with trusted organizations so Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have access to COVID-19 testing throughout the county

  • Employ a diverse team of public health staff and Community Health Workers who follow up with people who have tested positive and support them to make a recovery plan (this is called contact tracing)

  • Support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color businesses and employees so they can operate safely and have access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like masks and face coverings

  • Create communications materials in multiple languages and formats 

Much of this work builds on ongoing projects and relationships with community groups. We will work in partnership with these organizations and groups to make sure outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are equitable.

Q: What is the best way to protect myself and others as restrictions on activities and businesses are gradually lifted?

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself, your family and community. It helps to protect those at risk for severe illness. It also keeps our healthcare facilities open to those who need them.

Everyone should continue to stay home as much as possible to keep the virus from spreading.

  • Go out only for essentials (groceries, medical care)
  • Limit trips and stay close to home
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with people you don’t live with
  • Wear cloth face coverings when going out. Face coverings are required in Oregon for everyone age 5 and older, in all indoor public spaces and also outdoors when you cannot keep 6 feet from others.

People at risk for severe illness (older adults, underlying conditions) must still stay home.


Q: Where can we find out how many COVID-19 cases there are in Multnomah County?

The Regional COVID-19 Data Dashboard shows COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths broken down by age, gender, race and ethnicity. The dashboard also details data on testing, housing status, underlying health conditions and symptoms. Due to a data reporting delay of one day, regional numbers may be slightly different than those reported by the Oregon Health Authority.  

Health Systems

Q: What happens if 911 is overwhelmed with COVID-19 related emergencies?

The 911 system is working with local government and healthcare systems to: 

  • Expand capacity of non-emergency helplines like 211, or nurse lines to help people decide if they need to call 911. 
  • Use symptom checkers to help individuals decide if they need to call 911. 
  • Provide factual health information about COVID-19 to ensure people understand warning signs. This prevents people with mild symptoms or those who are not-high risk from calling 911 when the more appropriate call is to their own doctor. 
  • Quickly prioritizing high-need care on the phone to triage situations that do not need an immediate, in-person emergency response.
  • By providing non-emergency care “on the scene” -- meaning providing medical care for non-life-threatening emergencies at the location where the emergency caller is located, avoiding the need for the caller to be transferred to a hospital.
  • Sending those who do not need emergency care to a non-emergency department.
  • Preventing first responders and emergency personnel from getting sick by ensuring they are adequately protected by the extensive use of personal protective equipment on all response calls. 

Q: How are healthcare workers and those working with vulnerable populations being monitored for COVID-19?

Healthcare workers and vulnerable populations are two of the groups that are high priorities for COVID-19 testing if they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus. 

Health systems are encouraged to follow guidance outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for healthcare professionals. Like all people who test positive, healthcare professionals will be asked to stay home, self-isolate and monitor their symptoms for warning signs

Q: Are healthcare workers and those working with vulnerable populations being asked to stay home if someone in their household is ill?

No, they are asked to watch themselves closely and stay home at the first sign of illness.

Q: Can I seek health or dental care for a non-emergency?

Yes, non-emergency medical care and dentist offices are open and operating, provided they meet required safety guidelines.


Q: What businesses are currently open in Multnomah County?

Multnomah County was approved to move into Phase 1 on June 19, 2020. 

Q: I own and operate a food service business, what do I need to know to offer food via delivery or takeout? 

View guidance for restaurants and food service

Q: What do people do if they have concerns/want to report a business or business sector that is not following guidance?  

If you are an employee with safety concerns, you can file a complaint with Oregon Occupational Health and Safety. The complaint form is available in English and Spanish. 

Anyone who knows about a workplace safety or health hazard may report unsafe conditions to OSHA (Oregon Safety and Health Administration) at 800-922-2689.

Read more about how the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will be responding to enforcement concerns.

Q: I’m an employer. Do I have to provide face coverings for my employees?

Yes, businesses must provide masks, face shields, or face coverings for employees. Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance.

Transportation and travel

Q: Can I ride public transportation?

Public transportation is operating. We encourage you to limit travel to essential trips only at this time. TriMet is requiring passengers to wear face coverings as of May 20, except for children under 2 and individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing face coverings. Passengers are asked to observe physical distancing and remain 3 feet away from each other on transit. Read more about TriMet updates.

Volunteer or donate

Q: I would like to sew face coverings to donate to healthcare and other essential workers. Can I do that?

If you are interested in making face coverings for essential workers, we encourage you to connect with an existing, coordinated effort. 

For the latest information about what types of donations Multnomah County is collecting donations and more information about our volunteers please see our donations and volunteers page.

Other resources

You can review our current guidance and find links to additional resources on our COVID-19 website.