Oregon state health officials unveil new proposal seeking to make mask mandates permanent

The order that is currently in place that was passed back in November is scheduled to expire on May 4th.  The Oregon health department is now seeking to make it a permanent mandated order. “Oregon [Occupational Safety and Health] intends to repeal the rule when it is no longer necessary to address the pandemic.” Reported by the Federalist. Oregon would actually become the second state to adopt a permanent mandate while Virginia was the first. 

It seems as though the current order is highly geared towards employers providing a Covid-19 safe environment. COVID cases in Oregon are averaging less than half of what they were when the temporary order first came into effect. At the beginning of November the state saw 769 new cases and on a seven day average there were 603 positive tests, The Federalist reports. The Federalist continued by saying that his past Wednesday the state had a seven-day average of 244 positive tests.

All adult residents will be eligible to receive the COVID Vaccine on May 1st, Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen announced. This falls just a few days before the temporary mandate is set to expire. The mandates don’t end with just the employer and work responsibly. The order also extends its mandates onto children and students who engage in outdoor sports. 

The coach Steve Richards gave a statement to a local newspaper called the Register-Guard. He expressed to the paper “It’s tragic to watch,” He continued, “It’s hard as a coach to send your kids out there. There’s been a lot of theorizing about the health risks between wearing a mask and not wearing one, and I can’t speak to those. I just know the looks on their faces. They’re running their guts out.” The paper Register- Guard reported, the state has mandated masks be worn during all practices and competitions for high school sports. It’s a rule many coaches and runners are unhappy with, saying it’s difficult to competitively run 5,000 meters while masks. They also worry it could be dangerous. ‘I have two kids with asthma,’ Junction City coach Shannon McAdams said. ‘Running a 5K is hard enough. Running with a mask on could be detrimental.

Reportedly, many citizens of Oregon have differing opinions on the mandate and it’s likely that many will not be thrilled if the temporary mandate is made permanent. Since the start of the COVID mandates, Oregon– among other states– had pushed back on mask requirements in places where social distancing was possible. In fact, a conservative nonprofit group, the Freedom Foundation made the statement the governor and the Oregon Health Authority acted too hastily in issuing the mask order to combat the spread of COVID-19, even questioning whether the mandate infringes on constitutional rights. The mask mandate argument has been going on across the country for nearly a year and with multiple states such as Virginia, and now, Oregon wanting to make the mandates a permanent fixture, it’s likely these debates will continue.  




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