Governor Kate Brown announced today that Oregonians statewide will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, beginning 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 Oregon 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,” Brown said. “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 COVD-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.
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems president and CEO Becky Hultberg released the following statement in support of Governor Kate Brown’s statewide public face covering requirement.
“The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems stands in support of Governor Kate Brown’s statewide public face covering requirement. We know that when we all make the choice to wear a face covering in public, we are doing our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With cases on the rise rapidly across the state, it is now more important than ever to take this step to protect our loved ones, our neighbors, and our communities. Further, if we are to coexist alongside the disease, wide adoption of public face coverings is an essential factor in keeping our businesses and public spaces open. OAHHS urges all Oregonians to wear a face covering in public, and to help reinforce this critical message by talking to your friends and family about the importance of wearing a face covering in public.”
COVID-19 Case Count
As of Monday, June 29, COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 204, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
The OHA also reported 146 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the state total to 8,485.