Oregon Mulls Making Mask Mandate Permanent

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Officials in Oregon are considering making masking and social distancing requirements permanent.

The requirements, first introduced last year in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, are set to expire on May 4.

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) is proposing rules with no end date that would require a mask or other face covering for any person entering a business or a housing facility provided by employers. The rules would also require physical distancing, or the maintaining of distance between people.

As the Governor’s Executive Order is set to expire, the public health emergency remains a substantial concern in Oregon. As a result, it is necessary to extend the provisions from the Executive Order with a permanent rule. The unique exposures created in the labor housing environment, particularly in working situations requiring large numbers of workers, make these rules necessary to reduce risk to individual workers,” the division said in a summary of one of the proposed rules.

The office said the masking rule for businesses will likely be repealed “once it is no longer necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

During the public comment period on the proposals, OSHA received a record number of public comments, mostly critical, and nearly 60,000 residents signed a petition against them.

The petition’s author, Jack Dresser, said that an unelected public agency should not be allowed “‘indefinite’ authority over any facet of public life.” – READ MORE

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