Lawsuit filed against Brown’s face covering rule


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A lawsuit has been filed with the Oregon State Court of Appeals over Gov. Kate Brown’s mandatory face covering rule, which was enacted in an ongoing effort to stem transmissions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The filing, which is in regards to Brown’s June 30 “Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering Guidance,” argues the governor and the Oregon Health Authority overstepped the state and U.S. constitutions and asks for an emergency motion to stop the rule until Aug. 12.

The lawsuit was filed by the Freedom Foundation, which is also suing Washington over a similar statewide face covering rule.

“Governors in left-leaning states all over the country are making up the rules as they go — and ignoring the procedural rules their own state laws set up,” Jason Dudash, the Oregon director of Freedom Foundation, said in a statement to KOIN 6 News.

Brown’s office would not comment specifically on the pending litigation; however, a spokesperson said the face mask rule is in place to “save lives” since the virus spreads through droplets in the air from an infected person’s nose and mouth.

“Face covering protect you, your friends, and neighbors from contracting this deadly disease,” spokesperson Charles Boyle said in a statement. “And the more people who wear face coverings while out in public, the more likely it is that we can keep business open.”

The rule initially required face coverings in indoor public spaces for certain counties, but was expanded to include the entire state, and then gradually expanded to include outdoor public spaces where it wasn’t possible to safely keep a 6-foot distance. On Wednesday, Gov. Brown announced the rule was being expanded yet again to include all children ages 5 and older when social distancing isn’t possible, along with requiring face coverings while in gyms.

The lawsuit features depositions from three Oregonians — a man and woman from Lane County and a man from Yamhill County — who described how they felt ostracized by fellow residents for not wearing masks in public spaces.

Statewide, more than 15,000 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than 270 Oregonians have died. Four million cases and more than 140,000 deaths have been reported across the U.S.

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