Oregon works out details on forever mask mandate

The Pacific Northwest state is just one of six states with indoor mask mandates, and appears set to extend those guidelines indefinitely.

Oregon works out details on forever mask mandate
AP Photo/Don Ryan, File
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Oregon has initiated efforts to expand its pandemic restrictions with the creation of a state-wide coronavirus vaccine verification system. The state is also fortifying its indoor mask mandate to make it a permanent ahead of the expiration of the temporary mask mandate currently in place.  

On November 30, Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen “confirmed the state is working to create a system that would allow venues requiring proof of vaccination to more easily check records,” Portland Monthly reported.  

Allen added that “the program would not involve any state mandates, but streamline the ability of businesses, such as the Portland Trailblazers, that have vaccination requirements for venues to verify vaccination status.” 

According to Portland Mecury, “the program will be totally voluntary and optional, though individual counties will have the choice to make vaccine proof mandatory for entry to businesses. Either way, it's better than having a janky picture of your slightly-too-big-to-fit-in-your-wallet, easy-to-fake paper vaccine card in your phone!” 

Ahead of the confirmation of the system’s implementation, Oregon State Rep. E. Werner Reschke wrote, “The Digital Vaccine Records (aka passport) being developed by @OHAOregon will NOT only be for vaccines.” 

“The Communists in State government will find other ways to use it to make you obey their whims,” said Reschke on Twitter.

In addition to the vaccine verification system, the Oregon Health Authority confirmed on Thursday that its Rules Advisory Committee “met to begin the process of drafting a permanent set of rules for the state’s indoor mask mandate requirement.” 

Oregon is one of six states to still have an indoor mask mandate in effect.  

Oregonian outlet KGW8 reported that although the state ended its outdoor mask mandate last week, the OHA aims to expand the indoor mandate before the temporary measure expires next February. 

The outlet reported that making the mandate permanent would remove the need for the department to meet every 180 days to extend the temporary measures, adding that the meeting gave “industry stakeholders, such as representatives from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, a chance to review a draft copy of the proposed permanent rule and offer feedback for OHA staff to consider.” 

The OHA reportedly emphasized that the permanent rule could be repealed if and when it is appropriate, but did not provide details of the metrics it intends to use to determine such a move. 

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