PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s outdoor mask mandate went back into effect on Friday.
Gov. Kate Brown announced the reinstatement of the mandate on Tuesday. She 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.
Two big events
The mandate begins the same day as two huge outdoor events — the Hood to Coast Relay and the Oregon State Fair.
This year there are about 13,000 runners for Hood to Coast, which was cancelled last year due to COVID concerns. The governor’s under does not mean runners need to wear masks on the course, but they are supposed to when they stop and are in close spaces with others.
Runners who spoke with KOIN 6 News said it was unusual to be on the course early with so much spacing. Several different team members traveling in their own vans said they know their teammates are vaccinated and have been working or training together for some time in their limited group.
In Salem, visitors to the opening day of the Oregon State Fair were asked to mask up if they are crowded together.
Masks are required for everyone 5-and-older both indoors and out, except when you’re actively eating or drinking. Most people seem to be following the mandate on the first day.
Oregon’s mandate 1st in US
This is the first reinstated 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, according to a report by the New York Times.
“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.
A total of 1,085 people are hospitalized in Oregon with COVID as of Thursday, breaking another all-time record during the pandemic.
299 of those hospitalized are in the ICU. The Oregon Health Authority also noted an increase in hospitalizations among pediatric cases of COVID in Thursday’s report.
Oregon hospitals remain at limited capacity, with only 51 adult ICU beds open out of 661 total, an 8% availability, and 333 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,269 – 8% availability.