Oregon’s outdoor mask mandate to return Friday

Gov. Kate Brown at a press conference in Portland on March 12, 2020. (Jake Thomas/Salem Reporter)

A new outdoor mask mandate will go into effect Friday, Aug. 27, Gov. Kate Brown announced in a video statement on Tuesday.

The mandate will require that masks be worn in outdoor settings where individuals from different households are not consistently maintaining a safe distance apart. The mandate applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. 

Brown’s statement followed the Oregon Health Authority’s report Monday that of the 657 total adult ICU beds in Oregon, only 47 remained available.

“In some cases, hospitals are having to put patients in hallways. Many are delaying other critical surgeries and treatment for patients because there is not the staffed bed for them to recover in,” Brown said in the video statement. “This is not only devastating to the COVID patients that need assistance but anyone else across the state in need of care.”

While the outdoor mask mandate only applies to public settings, the Oregon Health Authority “strongly recommends” masks be worn at private residences in similar situations.  

The rule does not require masks be worn when encounters are brief, such as passing someone on a hike or in the park.

Additionally, masks are not required to be worn by those practicing or playing competitive sports; individuals who are actively eating, drinking or sleeping; individuals delivering a speech or performing; or individuals living outdoors, such as those experiencing houselessness. 

Marion County currently has the fourth highest cumulative case count in all of Oregon, with 27,090.