Oregon considering indefinite extension of masks, social distancing for businesses

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Apr 18th, 2021 8:26 am

Last Updated Apr 19th, 2021 at 11:37 pm

Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon's Department of Occupational Safety and Health, is considering indefinitely extending required mask-wearing and social distancing in all businesses.

"We are not out of the woods yet," he said.

If approved, the rules stay in effect until they are "no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace."

Wood said the proposal is necessary due to a technicality in state law that requires a "permanent" rule to prohibit restrictions from expiring.

The proposal set off a flurry of outrage from citizens and objections from Republican lawmakers.

"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 state Sen. Kim Thatcher (R). "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."

Wood will make his final decision by May 4, which is the expiration date for Oregon's current restrictions.


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