Governor Kate Brown announced yesterday that Oregonians statewide will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, beginning this Wednesday July 1. The guidance applies to businesses and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces. Face covering requirements are already mandated in eight counties.
“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health systems’ capacity to test, trace and isolate them,” said Governor Brown. “Over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties. The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference.
“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.
“The choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter.
“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. 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.
“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public.
“Please keep your Fourth of July celebrations small and local. We saw a lot of new COVID-19 cases following the Memorial Day holiday. Another spike in cases after the upcoming holiday weekend could put Oregon in a dangerous position.
“Oregonians have all made incredible sacrifices over the last several months that have saved thousands of lives. The actions we take now can protect our friends, neighbors, loved ones and fellow Oregonians from this disease, and prevent the need for another statewide shutdown. We are truly all in this together.”
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) will take the lead, along with other state and local agencies, in enforcing face covering requirements for all covered Oregon businesses.