Oregon State Fair tries to enforce mask mandate

Oregon State Fair tries to enforce mask mandate

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the delta variant continues to fill hospitals and stretch ICU beds to their very limit, there are still people who are refusing to follow the indoor/outdoor mask mandate throughout the state of Oregon.

There are plenty of mask-up signs at the Oregon State Fair in Salem and officials said employees are now tasked with reminding people to put their masks back on if they’re not eating or drinking.

Since Gov. Kate Brown’s new mask mandate took effect, the Oregon Safety and Health Administration said they’ve received about 75 COVID-related complaints across the state. About a dozen of those complaints were related to the State Fair.

“We are adding steps. Over the weekend, we talked with Oregon OSHA, and they will be visiting the Fair on their time frame. They don’t have to tell anyone when they come,” said Oregon State Fair spokesperson Dave Thompson. “They will be looking specifically at the vendors and staff and the people we do have some control over and make sure they’re wearing masks. Vendors could be fined thousands of dollars.”

Some fair-goers who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they felt like they shouldn’t have to wear a mask because they’re vaccinated.

Some attendees at the Oregon State Fair wore a mask, others didn’t, August 30, 2021 (KOIN)

State Fair officials have implemented additional cleaning and attendees can also get a vaccination along with a COVID test.

In a statement from Gov. Brown’s office, spokesperson Charles Boyle said, “The focus of Oregon’s outdoor mask requirement is crowded situations where physical distancing is difficult or impossible––such as concerts, sporting events, and other large, organized outdoor gatherings––which is why the rule is enforceable by Oregon OSHA. Masks are strongly recommended but not required in outdoor situations where fleeting contact may occur or where individuals can maintain physical distancing. The rules require Oregonians to wear a mask indoors, and when they find themselves in crowded situations outdoors, and they should otherwise use their best judgment about when to wear a mask when around others outdoors.”

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