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Masks Will Be Required Outdoors in Oregon Starting Wednesday

Oregonians will have to wear face coverings in outdoor spaces when one can’t physically distance successfully

Kate Brown sits at a table with someone signing next to her.
Gov. Kate Brown at a July 13 press conference
Screenshot from YouTube
Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Following another record-breaking day of new COVID-19 cases this weekend, Brown has announced two new safety guidelines in Oregon, including an extension of her current mask mandate and a restriction targeting indoor social gatherings.

In a press conference Monday morning, Brown announced that Oregonians will need to wear masks outdoors if they can’t maintain six feet of physical distance. In addition, Brown banned all indoor group gatherings with more than 10 people — however, businesses like restaurants and bars can serve larger numbers inside.

“As of right now, these businesses that are implementing and enforcing our safety rules — face coverings, physical distancing, and sanitation — do not appear to be the sources of significant transmission,” Brown said. “I hope I don’t have to go the route of Texas and California and close bars and restaurants. But nothing, nothing is off the table.”

The outdoor mask mandate begins July 15, and specifically focuses on people who are outdoors and a) can’t maintain six feet of distance, and b) are with people they don’t live with. In terms of enforcing this rule, Brown has, again, noted that business owners and employees will enforce the mask mandate outdoors. “With any new mandate, there’s always the question of enforcement,” Brown said. “With face coverings now required outdoors, enforcement will continue to rely on businesses to help implement this very important rule.”

Businesses that choose to ignore this mandate, or don’t enforce mask-wearing in outdoor lines or dining spaces, for example, may be hit with “serious consequences,” in Brown’s words, “including citations, fines, and ultimately, closing down businesses who refuse to protect their employees and customers.” Employees and customers who find restaurants violating these rules can file a complaint with Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health division.

Brown said enforcing the restrictions on indoor social gatherings will be difficult, but that if people don’t comply, the resulting rise in the number of cases may force her to “take more restrictive measures.”

“I’m not going to set up the party police,” she said. “The proof here will be in the numbers.”

Full press conference [YouTube]
Oregonians Will Be Required to Wear Masks in Bars and Restaurants Statewide [EPDX]
Gov. Kate Brown Says Restaurant Workers Are Expected to Enforce Oregon’s Mask-Wearing Mandate [EPDX]