Mask Off | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Mask Off

Gov Kate Brown announces lifting of mask mandates for vaccinated people in certain settings—but schools, public transportation and health care among the places mandates remain in place

The more than year-long mandate requiring masks in public places in Oregon will soon be lifted for people who can prove they’ve been vaccinated, in accordance with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.  

“Starting today, Oregon will be following this guidance, which only applies to fully vaccinated individuals,” Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement May 13. “That means Oregonians who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks or social distance in most public spaces.”

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The new guidelines are another sign that the pandemic is coming closer to an end, Brown said. Still, there will be several exceptions for the lifting of the mandate; masks are still required in public transportation, hospitals, health care clinics, correctional facilities and long-term care facilities. The plan for schools remains the same, with students required to wear masks and distanced while inside the buildings. 

Locally, a statement from St. Charles Health System stated there would be no change to current policies for its health facilities.  

“Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing masks and physically distancing in certain places, with exceptions that include health care facilities,” a press release from St. Charles stated May 14. “This means there will be no changes to St. Charles Health System’s current policies that require masking and distancing in our hospitals, clinics and other sites. All patients, visitors and caregivers are still required to wear a mask or face covering at St. Charles.” 

Meanwhile, Brown said immune-compromised people should continue wearing masks and ask their health care providers about changing their personal protective measures

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The health system will continue to update its policies along CDC guidelines once they become available, its release stated.   

Meanwhile, Brown said immune-compromised people should continue wearing masks and ask their health care providers about changing their personal protective measures. Guidance for the reopening process were released on Tuesday, which specified that proof of vaccination must be a requirement to remove mask requirements. 

“Some businesses may prefer to simply continue operating under the current guidance for now, rather than worrying about verifying vaccination status,” Brown said. “Oregonians now have a choice of how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19: either get vaccinated, or continue wearing a mask and following physical distancing requirements.” 

So far Oregon has fully vaccinated just under 40% of its total population. Earlier statements from the governor said at 70% vaccination rate among people aged 16 and over would allow the state to ditch most restrictions.  

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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