New Mask Mandate
Governor Kate Brown announced today that effective Friday, August 13, masks will now be mandatory in all indoor public settings, stating that the Delta Variant has been raging across the state and is putting tremendous pressure on the health care system and claiming more lives. Today (August 11) marked the highest number of patients in ICUs since the pandemic began with 172 people. Masks effectively help prevent the spread of COVID. The Governor did not announce plans to reduce capacity in indoor settings. However she is requiring all state executive branch workers to be vaccinated and encouraging others to follow suit.
The Governor stated the goal is to keep businesses open and reduce the number of hospitalized Oregonians. She alluded that if this tactic does not work that more action to slow the spread of the virus may come. COVID 19 Delta Variant is spreading in the unvaccinated more quickly than the original virus. It is three times more contagious than the first round of COVID-19 and has more severe symptoms. It is also causing more severe symptoms in, and hospitalizations of children and young people. Vaccines remain the most effective way to prevent or reduce severity of COVID, including the Delta Variant.
Medical staff across the state are overwhelmed, understaffed, and asking for our help. Elective surgeries are being canceled and many hospitals are moving people who can be cared for elsewhere to open bed space for COVID patients. On the current trajectory Oregon hospitals will be 500 beds short by September.
Impact to businesses:
- All individuals will be required to wear masks since it has been found that both vaccinated and unvaccinated can spread the COVID-19 Delta Variant.
- The Chamber is urging the Governor, along with other state business organizations, to place mask compliance responsibility on the individual and not businesses to enforce. To date when asked about enforcement, Gov. Brown said, “Oregonians need to take personal responsibility.”
- At this time businesses and schools remain open without capacity restrictions.
- More statewide restrictions may be coming if COVID numbers are not slowed or reduced.
- The state is still focused on increasing Oregon’s vaccination rate.
We will update you as we know more.
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