Aug 24, 2021 - Health

Oregon governor announces outdoor mask mandate

Picture of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. Photo: Meg Roussos/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on Tuesday announced a new statewide outdoor mask mandate requiring people to wear masks in most outdoor settings regardless of vaccination status.

State of play: Starting Friday, Oregonians will be required to wear masks outdoors when physical distancing is not possible. While the mandate does not apply to outdoor gatherings in private residences, masks are "strongly recommended" when people from different households cannot remain socially distanced.

  • The rule also does not apply to "fleeting encounters," such as when two people walk by one another on a trail or in a park.

What they're saying: "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 a statement.

  • "Masks have proven to be effective at bringing case counts down, and are a necessary measure right now, even in some outdoor settings, to help fight COVID and protect one another," she added.
  • "We are starting to see instances where cases are clustering around events, like outdoor music festivals, that happen outdoors. Wearing masks in crowded settings — even outdoors — will help slow the spread of COVID-19," said Dean Sidelinger, Oregon's state health officer.

By the numbers: Oregon has reported a total of 257,644 cases and 3,036 confirmed deaths, according to government data.

  • On Aug. 14, the state recorded 2,220 new cases, its highest number of single-day cases.
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