What the new mask mandate means for Oregon businesses


Health officials stress not to "mask shame" people

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Starting Wednesday, everyone within the state of Oregon will be required to wear a face mask while inside public spaces.

Governor Kate Brown says the goal is to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further. Most of the time, people are wearing masks while out in public. But many have seen confrontational videos of people refusing to wear them inside stores — or just simply talked to folks who don’t want to put one on. 

The governor said she understands that some people just don’t want to wear a mask, but it is “literally up to you whether your local coffee shop stays open, whether your favorite boutique stays open. So I want to encourage Oregonians to wear their face coverings.”

Masks, she said, “make a difference in hopes that we don’t need to take more drastic action.”

Now that Governor Brown is making it mandatory to wear a mask in all public indoor spaces across the state, there are some state regulations to know about.

OSHA — How to handle
How to file a complaint

People who have underlying health conditions, have a disability or are under the age of 12 are exempt from the mask mandate.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health expects businesses to tell a customer without a face covering that a mask or face shield is required indoors. If a person decline, businesses should politely ask if they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing one.

If so, no further questions should be asked. But if the don’t have an exemption, then OSHA says a business should kindly ask them to leave and they can call the police if the person refuses. The state makes it clear that under no circumstance should a business try to physically block a person from entering.

Health officials stress not to “mask shame” people. If you see someone not wearing a mask, do not engage with them. Instead, contact your local health authority — do not call police.

Reaction to the decision

“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.” — Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems

To help keep our associates and customers safe, we request all our customers wear masks while shopping in our stores – or alternatively use our ecommerce services like pickup or delivery. In locations where masks are mandated for shoppers, we support the local policy. To protect our associates and minimize the risk of disputes with customers, we uphold the mandate through door signage and in-store radio as well as the ongoing execution of additional protection measures, like protective partitions at every check lane and floor decals to further promote physical distancing. — Statement from Fred Meyer stores

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