Democrat Gov. Kate Brown has ordered residents in Oregon to begin wearing masks in outdoor public settings starting this Friday.
From August 27, masks will become mandatory in all public outdoor settings in Oregon, including at large outdoor events – regardless of vaccination status.
“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” the far-left Governor said. “Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19.”
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Katu.com reports: The new outdoor requirement comes just over a week after the governor reinstated Oregon’s indoor masks requirement.
According to the governor’s office, the rule does not apply to quick encounters, such as two individuals walking by one another on a trail or in a park.
While the rule does not apply to outdoor gatherings at private residences, masks are strongly recommended in those settings when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance, officials said.
According to the governor’s office, there are some exceptions, which include:
- Children under 5 years old
- Individuals who are actively eating, drinking, or sleeping — as well as individuals living outdoors, such as people experiencing houselessness
- Persons playing or practicing competitive sports, or engaged in an activity in which it is not feasible to wear a mask — such as swimming
- Individuals delivering a speech or performing — such as with outdoor music or theater
- Entities subject to the ADA must continue to comply with that law
Mask requirements K-12 schools will fall under their previously announced mandate.
KATU News reached out to the governor’s office for more details on the enforcement of this latest mask mandate and received the following statement:
Now, as before with previous mask requirements, Oregon OSHA will enforce this rule, while working with employers and entities that host public events that are working to comply with mask requirements. Businesses that host outdoor events will fall under this rule. Private gatherings held at private residences will not fall under this rule, though masks are still strongly recommended in all crowded outdoor settings and where physical distancing is not possible.
The requirement comes as hospitalizations have reached new highs for the state, with ICU beds nearly filled across the state.
As ICUs fill up with COVID-19 patients, there will be less room available to care for victims of car crashes or people who suffer strokes or heart attacks.
All told, there are only 47 ICU beds available statewide.
Last week, the governor’s office said Oregon’s K-12 educators and school staff will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
According to the governor’s office:
Under the Governor’s direction, the OHA rule will require masks for all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — in outdoor settings in which individuals from different households are unable to consistently maintain physical distance. The rule does not apply to fleeting encounters, such as two individuals walking by one another on a trail or in a park. While the rule does not apply to outdoor gatherings at private residences, masks are strongly recommended in those settings when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance.
“It is much easier for people with the Delta variant, compared to people who were sick last year, to infect others around them,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “This is because they have one thousand times more virus in their nose – which means that those around them are much more likely to get sick because this variant behaves so differently. We are starting to see instances where cases are clustering around events, like outdoor music festivals, that happen outdoors. Wearing masks in crowded settings – even outdoors – will help slow the spread of COVID-19.”