Oregon, New Mexico order lockdowns, other states consider options

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Oregon and New Mexico governors issued orders for tighter measures in the face of spiking coronavirus cases, including near-lockdown conditions.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham closed statewide in-person services for non-essential activities starting Nov. 16. It will last for two weeks, although that may be extended.

Grisham’s order emphasized the need to reduce the strain on hospitals and health care providers.

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In this Nov. 6, file photo, people walk in downtown Evanston, Ill. With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for reimposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a similar order, called a “Two-Week Freeze.” Starting Nov. 18., most indoor facilities, such as gyms and restaurants will close, and indoor capacity for essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies will be limited.

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“Since I announced a Two-Week Pause one week ago, we are seeing an alarming spike in both cases and hospitalizations,” said Brown. “The virus is spreading in the community and, every day, it is infecting more and more Oregonians.”

“This situation is dangerous and our hospitals have been sounding the alarms,” Brown added. “If we want to give Oregon a fighting chance, we must take further measures to flatten the curve and save lives.”

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In this Nov. 12,  file photo, a man walks past a coffee shop as the store displays information signs in Chicago. With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for reimposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)​​​

The actions may alarm residents who are resistant to the idea of such hardline measures – the strictest in either state since the initial spike of cases in the spring.

President Donald Trump asked all Americans to remain “vigilant,” but ruled out a nationwide “lockdown.”

“Hopefully, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be, I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown,” Trump said in his first public remarks since his defeat by President-elect Joe Biden.

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Other governors are similarly hesitant to embrace widespread lockdowns again.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced a mask mandate that would take effect immediately and run through December, a measure that signifies an acceptance that COVID has grown more severe.

“Our situation has changed, and we must change with it," Burgum said. "Tonight, we’re announcing four measures designed to reduce the spread of infections in our communities to protect our most vulnerable and to ensure hospital capacity.”

In this Nov. 12 photo, a couple eat inside at the Buena Vista Cafe during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance across the country and the U.S. facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for reimposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

While he has not pushed for a full lockdown, Burgum ordered all bars and restaurants to limit capacity and suspend service between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo embraced the overnight curfew for dining services, a move the governor said aligns with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

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“We did that with New Jersey on bars and restaurants, with the closure of 10 p.m.,” Cuomo said during a Friday conference call with reporters.

Cuomo is meeting with New England governors over the weekend to plan out the next steps of a pandemic response should conditions worsen.

Cuomo noted other states had more significant crises. Neighboring Pennsylvania has a 19% rate of infection, for example. In comparison, New York has a rate of 2.6% “with clusters,” but 2.2% “without zones.” Connecticut has a rate of around 4%.

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Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak repeatedly argued that containing the virus is largely up to individuals.

“Some people are going to ask, ‘Why not limit retail, or casino resorts, or restaurants right now?’ That’s a fair question,” he said. “That is the tightrope of trying to balance controlling the COVID-19 spread, protecting our hospitals from surges, and at the same time, not destroying and shutting down our economy.”

In Texas, which this week became the first state to surpass 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott emphasized new treatments and vaccines expected to be available soon.

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Officials have gotten pushback from some constituents, especially business owners who fear for their livelihoods.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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