Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) announced Monday that residents in the state will be required to wear facial coverings in indoor public spaces in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The mandate, which will take effect on Wednesday, July 1, will apply to businesses and members of the public who use indoor public spaces. Eight counties in the state were already placed under the same mandate last week.
“From the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health systems’ capacity to test, trace, and isolate them,” Brown said.
Brown also noted the “alarming” spread and rise in the number of cases in “both urban and rural counties.”
“Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks,” Brown said. “The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference.”
Brown said that face coverings play a crucial role because they prevent the breath of other people from passing the virus to those nearby them.
The governor also insisted that she does not want to have to close Oregon businesses again and said Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) will be tasked will enforcing the new mandate and ensuring that people in public spaces wear facial coverings.
“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing,” Brown wrote in a tweet. “If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public. It’s up to all of us what happens next.”
Please keep your 4th of July celebrations small & local. We saw a lot of new COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day weekend. Another spike could put Oregon in a dangerous position of our hospitals being overwhelmed by new cases and hospitalizations within weeks. Be smart, please.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) June 29, 2020
In another tweet, Brown also urged residents in the state to keep their Independence Day gathering “small & local,” telling everyone to “be smart.”
“Please keep your 4th of July celebrations small & local,” Brown stated. “We saw a lot of new COVID-19 cases after Memorial Day weekend. Another spike could put Oregon in a dangerous position of our hospitals being overwhelmed by new cases and hospitalizations within weeks. Be smart, please.”
According to the Oregon Health Authority, more than 8,500 people in the state have tested positive for the virus with more than 200 deaths. A total of 146 cases and two additional deaths were reported by the authority on Monday.