PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gov. Kate Brown is reinstating Oregon’s outdoor mask mandate starting Friday.
Brown said everyone will need to wear a mask outside in public unless they can keep physical distance. This includes outdoor gatherings and events.
“The rule does not apply to fleeting encounters, such as two individuals walking by one another on a trail or in a park. While the rule does not apply to outdoor gatherings at private residences, masks are strongly recommended in those settings when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance,” a press release from Brown’s office read.
She blamed the delta variant’s rapid spread across the state for the latest mandate. An indoor mask mandate was reinstated earlier this month.
“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” Brown said in her press release. “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 York Times reports this is the first re-instated outdoor mask mandate in the U.S. for both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents since the delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Oregon reported over 4,000 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend. Hospitals remain at over 90% capacity, with some health systems limiting visitors and elective surgeries.