Oregon Sheriff Says County Won’t Punish Nonessential Businesses

Crook County Sheriff John Gautney issued a statement on Monday, saying as the county reopens for regular business with some restrictions, he doesn’t plan to cite any business that reopens, despite the COVID-19 risks, Fox News reports.

“I don’t want to see more families hurt by the virus, and it is terrible what families that have lost a loved one have gone through. My heart goes out to them. I, in no way, want to lessen the importance of their loss,” Gautney said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“Many are concerned that law enforcement will arrest anyone who violates the stay-at-home order. That [is] simply not true for the Crook County Sheriff’s Office,” he continued. “As we have seen released in the media more than once; that Oregon law enforcement’s role in this is that of EDUCATION if they see a violation. The enforcement role falls to the organization that issues licenses for that particular business.”

Gautney added: “If a business decides to open, that is a decision the business owner makes.”

The sheriff reminded the community “We are a free society and able to make decisions based on common sense.”

“They have the right to choose,” Gautney said. “I know this is going to draw disapproval by some and that is OK. That is their right to do so. That is what our country is based on.”

The sheriff also said his office will be open encouraged residents to share any questions or concerns they may have.

“I believe in supporting the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of Oregon, and the laws thereof,” he added. “I also try to apply common sense in the application of those laws.”

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Getty Images

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