Masks recommended, but what do Oregonians think?

Oregon

Oregon health officials strongly recommend wearing a mask indoors, but some residents feel it's unnecessary

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon could see nearly 1,200 COVID-19 cases each day by mid-August, according to a new model projection, and that’s prompting some people to rethink wearing masks. 

On Sunday, Oregonians said they have mixed reactions on whether they should don their masks again. Some were supportive, others not so much. 

“With the Delta variant, I feel like you should [wear a mask.]  Especially, like if you are vaccinated, also there are so many music festivals going on right now. I just feel like  you should,” said Faith, who did not give her last name. She was in Portland Sunday.

“Why wear one inside?  I’ve got a Johnson and Johnson shot. What would I need a mask for?  It’s stupid enough. I get on the City bus on Burnside and they tell me to wear a mask or get off.  And I’m like, ‘What? Whatever.’ So, I play the game and its dumb. I don’t think you need to,” said Michael, who was also in Portland and who did not share his last name. 

Friday, Dr. Dean Sidelinger from the Oregon Health Authority said the situation that the state is facing is different from what it was facing a year ago. He said the current variant is much more transmissible and said even vaccinated people can get COVID-19. Although, they are much less likely to become seriously ill. 

He said the best way for people to protect themselves is to wear masks in public. He said he feels the state’s “strong recommendation” to wear masks is sufficient. 

Businesses will also need to decide if they will require customers to wear masks. KOIN 6 News spoke to John Teply, the founding artistic director of the Elisabeth Jones Art Center. He said the gallery is preparing to follow the state’s recommendation.

The art center in the Pearl District is currently showcasing a project that’s brought together artists from opposite ends of the world and it’s drawing in spectators.

Teply said the gallery is planning to post information about their decision to ask visitors to wear masks.

“We are going to put up a copy of an article talking about how things have changed and that it’s safest if we wear masks,” he said.

Friday’s new COVID-19 projection is the first to be released since the state dropped all of its COVID-19 mandates June 30. 

In the last seven days, cases surged due to the Delta variant. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a mask requirement for all state buildings and for K-12 educational institutions. The requirement applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. 

OHA also announced it recommends all people wear masks in indoor public settings.

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