PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Pacific Northwest is open again.
Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Oregon on Wednesday, even though the state is just a fraction short of reaching her 70% vaccination goal. As of late Tuesday, the official tally is 69.4%.
Social distancing and mask mandates will go away — but there is nuance. Even the Oregon Occupational Safety Health Administration is repealing its mask mandate at the office. The exceptions are for federal rules — masks will be required at airports, public transportation and healthcare settings.
But capacity limits are gone. Closing times will no longer be in effect. Restaurants and bars can forgo their mask requirements whether or not they check vaccine cards. This means they can return to full indoor dining for the first time in 15 months.
The only COVID rules staying in place in Oregon are for workplaces to optimize their ventilation systems and for employees to follow quarantine protocols if they catch COVID-19.
Washington state is also reopening Wednesday as Gov. Jay Inslee promised. Nearly every business and venue are preparing to welcome people back at full capacity.
That means most places – bars, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, etc. – can return to pre-pandemic occupancy. They do have to continue to follow workplace safety guidance issued by Department of Labor & Industries.
There is an exception to the return to full capacity, and that is large indoor venues. Those larger indoor venues with a capacity of 10,000 people or more will be limited to 75% occupancy, unless they can verify everyone is vaccinated.
While some states like Oregon have dropped mask mandates that’s not the case in Washington. The order continues to require face coverings in indoor settings, however, beginning June 30, they will no longer be required in outdoor settings.
For those who are vaccinated, good news: Washington adopted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention masking guidelines that says people who are fully vaccinated aren’t required to wear facial coverings.
There are caveats: The guidance does not apply to health care settings like hospitals, long-term care, or doctor’s offices; jails, homeless shelters, or schools.
So if you go to one of those places, bring a mask.
For people who are not vaccinated, masks are still required in public indoor spaces after June 30 in Washington. People who are not fully vaccinated are also encouraged to continue to wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings.
State officials said these restrictions will be revisited on July 31.
Remember, in both Washington and Oregon businesses also retain the right to require customers to wear masks or vaccination cards if they so please, so check with them before you go.