Oregon businesses still waiting for state guidance on masks

Coronavirus

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There continues to be growing confusion on whether fully vaccinated people in Oregon are still required to wear masks inside businesses.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines last week that fully vaccinated people can be inside without a mask, many Oregon businesses are still requiring them for all customers.

“It feels weird to be checking everybody’ (vaccine) card to allow them into the space,” said Cloud Cap Games co-owner Alex Babakitis. “I’m more comfortable just blanket saying, ‘masks on.'”

Businesses are also still waiting for guidance from the state about what to do.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state would follow CDC guidance and that people who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear a mask or physically distance in most indoor and outdoor areas.

Some stores like Costco, Walmart and Trader Joe’s are going with the honor system and are not checking for proof of vaccination.

This makes many people nervous.

“I think it’s a great thing you can go maskless but now everybody who is going to say they’re vaccinated but really not so I don’t trust everybody,” said Portland resident Joann Reed.

Starbucks announced that masks would be optional for fully vaccinated people starting Monday. But several Portland-area Starbucks stores are still requiring all customers to wear masks.

Portland Business Alliance CEO Andrew Hoan said business owners are in a tough spot on how to proceed with mask policies.

“We are seeking additional guidelines which there are not a lot of details today about what is privacy what is privileged information,” he said. “We’re just not there yet, and I know a lot of different folks have different opinions on this.”

The CDC has offered no additional guidance around implementation, said Charles Boyle, spokesperson for Gov. Gate Brown’s office.

“It is going to take public health officials more time to work out all of the complexities and details for this significant shift in guidance, including key details like vaccination verification for fully vaccinated individuals,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “In the meantime, the current health and safety requirements for wearing of masks and physical distancing that Oregonians have been following remain in effect, and businesses must continue operating under those same requirements.”

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