Oregon to Require Masks Outdoors, Regardless of Vaccination Status

Oregon governor Kate Brown in 2015 (Steve Dipaola/Reuters)

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced Tuesday that she is reimplementing a statewide outdoor mask mandate for anyone over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status.

“Effective Friday, August 27, masks will be required in most public outdoor settings, including large outdoor events, where physical distancing is not possible, and regardless of vaccination status,” said a press release from Brown’s office.

A mask is required for people who are around others from a different household in a situation where they are not practicing social distancing. However, it does not apply when an individual is alone or with members of the same household.

The press release “strongly” recommends that people at private residences mask outdoors if they are with someone from another household.

“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic,” Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high. Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19.”

The new mandate is more strict than even what the CDC recommends: the agency has issued guidance that individuals, regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks indoors in areas with high transmission rates of the virus.

Oregon, where 58 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, already has an indoor mask mandate in place for anyone over the age of five. It is the only state to reimplement an outdoor mask mandate.

The new outdoor mask mandate came after Oregon recorded 2,200 new COVID-19 cases in one day, its highest total number of single-day COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

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