Oregonians across the state will be required to wear masks and face coverings within indoor public spaces starting July 1. Gov. Kate Brown has announced a new mandate requiring citizens wear face coverings while inside public spaces like restaurants, bars, and grocery stores.
“Face coverings that cover your nose and mouth play a critical role in reducing the spread of this disease because droplets from our breath can carry the virus to others without us realizing it,” Brown said in a statement. “If we all wear face coverings, practice six feet of physical distancing in public, wash our hands regularly, and stay home when we are sick, then we can avoid the worst-case scenarios that are now playing out in other states.”
On June 25, Gov. Kate Brown instituted new guidance that required residents of seven Oregon counties — including Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington — to wear face coverings while visiting indoor public areas, such as grocery stores, public transit, and pharmacies. On June 26, the governor announced that Clatsop County would have to join these seven counties starting July 1, a request made by the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners.
Now, Clatsop will be joined by 28 other Oregon counties not currently under this mandate, which means citizens will have to wear masks while inside the following businesses:
• Grocery stores
• Fitness-related organizations
• Public transit
• Personal services providers
• Restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, wineries, tasting room and distilleries
• Retail stores, shopping centers and malls
• Ride sharing services
Phase Two counties will also require masks within:
• Indoor licensed swimming pool, licensed spa pools, and sports courts
• Indoor entertainment facilities
• Indoor venue operators
The restriction allows customers to remove face coverings while eating and drinking in restaurants, bars, and other food businesses. People living with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask safely are exempt from this mandate, as well as children under 12.
This mandate comes during a dramatic increase of cases across the state, with the potential for “exponential growth” of new cases within the next month. “Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” Brown said in her statement. The state began the reopening process on May 15, with several counties now in the second phase of reopening.