Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack, addresses COVID-19

Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack has advised that the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office is following the safety recommendations of the Governor’s Executive Orders but are not taking law enforcement action against businesses.  “The Sheriff’s Office may warn and educate but we should not be the agency that is primarily responsible for closing businesses.”

Governor Brown has issued several executive orders since the COVID-19 Pandemic started in Oregon.  A broad range of business have been forced to close down.  Businesses that fail to comply may be subject to potential criminal charges or license revocations or other violations.

The Sheriff’s Office role has been one of education, with businesses and the public in general. The goal is to educate people for social distancing, wearing protective masks when necessary, and to continually wash your hands.  Morrow County Emergency Management as well as the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office has utilized several methods of getting the safety messages out to our citizens, including social media.

Sheriff Matlack said, “If some businesses are not following directives as suggested or ordered by the Governor’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office may contact, remind or educate businesses etc., but our role is not to arrest or cite businesses.” Early on in this process, it was determined that if enforcement action was necessary, the best plan was to have the licensing agencies that regulates the businesses be the ones responsible for dealing with the owners/managers of the businesses.  The licensing agency would determine if their business license would be subject to suspension or other enforcement type action would be necessary.

Morrow County Emergency Management along with Morrow County Board of Commissioners and the Morrow County Public Health Department have submitted a plan to Governor Brown to open Morrow County with restrictions, known as the Phase 1 Re-opening Plan.

Sheriff Matlack wants to thank the citizens of Morrow County for their cooperation and willingness to work with each other.  “If we all continue to work together, we will get through this very difficult and confusing time.”