Lincoln County reverses mask policy for people of color

Coronavirus

County leaders say they're 'shocked and appalled' by the 'horrifically racist commentary'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lincoln County has backtracked on its decision to exempt people of color from its mandatory face mask policy, citing a “shocking” backlash of “horrifically racist commentary” from the community.

Lincoln County issued the directive on face coverings on June 17 and included several exceptions, including for people with certain medical conditions, children under 12 and “people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.”

The directive also said the mandate is self-executed and that no one is allowed to intimidate or harass individuals who do not adhere to it.

The decision to exempt people of color, which was made in an effort to ease worries over racial profiling, gained national attention.

But on Wednesday, Lincoln County reversed its decision to exempt people of color in response to public backlash, as well as feedback from leadership within the county’s communities of color who asked for the policy to be revised because it was “making them possible targets for more hate.”

An updated list of exceptions to Lincoln County’s face covering directive can be found here.

Read Lincoln County’s full statement below:

Face coverings will be required while in indoor public spaces for Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River, Marion, Polk, and Lincoln counties beginning Wednesday. Face coverings are not required while eating at restaurants. Children under 12 are exempt as well as those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing them.

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