Oregon Reinstates Mask Mandate

By Megan Crowhurst and Joseph Ridgeway © Littler Mendelson August 16, 2021
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Barista wearing a mask and handling an order

Effective Aug. 13, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown implemented a statewide mask mandate for all children and adults age five and older in all indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. This order will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. The existing requirement that all Oregonians ages two and older mask up on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status, also remains in place. The governor has not imposed capacity limits on businesses.

This statewide mask mandate follows the governor's recent announcement of a vaccine requirement or submission to weekly COVID-19 testing for all healthcare workers in Oregon. Additionally, the governor advised that all Oregon executive branch employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or six weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approves a COVID-19 vaccine, whichever comes sooner.

Oregon OSHA will enforce Oregon's new statewide mask mandate for employees and employers. However, the agency has announced that it will focus first on education, rather than inspections and fines, as businesses implement masking protocols.

The statewide mandate mirrors action at the local level to address the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced a renewed mask mandate for Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore. Effective Friday, Aug. 13, anyone age five and older (two and older if a mask is tolerated) must wear a face mask inside all public spaces—regardless of vaccination status. Those who do not follow this order face a fine of up to $1,000. The rule excludes those actively eating and drinking in food establishments.

Megan Crowhurst and Joseph Ridgeway are attorneys with Littler Mendelson in Portland, Ore. © 2021 Littler Mendelson. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission. 

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