Oregon officials propose a permanent mask mandate

With current COVID-19 regulations in Oregon set to expire on May 4, one proposal is pushing to reinstate mask mandates forever.

The mandate would be in place until it is “no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace.”

Administrator of Oregon’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Michael Wood, brought the proposal to light. He argues it is necessary so mandates don’t expire.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Woods said.

Many in the state are opposed to the idea, including Republican State Sen. Kim Thatcher.

“When will masks be unnecessary? What scientific studies do these mandates rely on, particularly now that the vaccine is days away from being available to everyone?” said Thatcher. “Businesses have had to play ‘mask cop’ for the better part of a year now. They deserve some certainty on when they will no longer be threatened with fines.”

The New York Post reports that the department has received a record number of responses and a petition against the idea has nearly 60,000 signatures.

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