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Oregon mayor calls for small businesses to defy governor and open on New Year's Day

The mayor of Sandy, Oregon, is calling on small businesses in his state to open on New Year's Day in defiance of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown's coronavirus restrictions, while still observing rules for social distancing and COVID-19 spread reduction. In an open letter to the governor sent earlier this month, Mayor Stan Pulliam called the governor's lockdown orders "arbitrary" and accused her restrictions of bankrupting small businesses and sending "our neighbors to spiral into depression and anxiety."

"If you discover a mouse in your house, you don't burn it down to solve the problem. You find a way to safely remove the mouse without destroying everything else you value. Governor Brown, we are opening," the letter stated.

Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, the mayor said, "All Oregonians should take pause, stand up, and say this must stop."

"What we're talking about doing is having a mass movement opening across the state of Oregon throughout all of our local communities on Jan. 1, on New Year's Day," Pulliam said.

He described how a coalition of businesses in Oregon counties that have been labeled "Extreme Risk" will open and voluntarily comply with less restrictive "High Risk" measures recommended by the state government. According to KOIN-TV, restaurants and gyms can open with significantly reduced capacity under that lower tier of restrictions.

"What we're hoping to do is by doing this mass opening, just one level underneath the governor's recommended guidelines ... we want to get these storefronts open and get the employees back to work," Pulliam explained.

Fox News host Sandra Smith asked the mayor if he was "willing to face the consequences" if businesses open as he's calling for and there is increased spread of the coronavirus.

"You know, consequences of what?" Pulliam replied. "We talk about spread coming from our local main street, locally owned businesses but [pay] very little attention to the big box stores that are packing them in supporting corporate America."

"I don't know the names of the CEOs that are running the big box stores, but you better believe I know Lila and Paul Reed of Mt. Hood Athletic Club, Ria who owns Sandy Family Restaurant, Denise of Paola's Pizza. These are the face and names that make up the main street of Sandy and like so many main streets across these local communities all throughout Oregon," he continued.

"It's time that we stand with them."

Part of the reason for the Jan. 1 opening day, Pulliam explained to KOIN, is that in addition to the symbolism of the new year beginning, government agencies that are responsible for enforcing the coronavirus restrictions may be closed for the holiday.

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