Following her press release yesterday, Governor Brown hosted a press conference this morning outlining the return to statewide indoor mask mandates. The new mask requirement is for all indoor public settings, including businesses, and will take effect this Friday, August 13th. The Salem Chamber, in partnership with other business advocacy organizations will work with OSHA to ensure the responsibility of enforcement does not fall onto employees and businesses.
There was no identified timeline provided to the length of this mandate. The Governor’s office will continue to track hospitals’ capacity to make any changes to the current mandate or move forward with increased regulations.
The mask requirement, according to the Governor, is an effort to keep schools and businesses open. Governor Brown did not rule out further restrictions, such as capacity limits or business closures, if the virus continues to spread.
In addition to a return of mask requirements, the Governor is requiring all executive branch employees to be vaccinated by October 18th or 6 weeks after the vaccine receives FDA approval, whichever comes later. Employees of the legislative and judicial branches are not subject to this requirement. The Governor is also encouraging public and private employers to require vaccination of employees. We find concern with this statement as there are no current limited liability laws protecting employers if an employee is required to be vaccinated and suffers a bad reaction to the vaccination.
If you have not received a vaccine yet, click here to find vaccine clinics near you. The Salem Chamber will continue to provide real-time updates on any new developments relating to further mandates.

Indoor Mask Mandate Information

What You Need to Know

 Following Wednesday’s announcement, all Oregon residents, while in a public setting, are required to wear a face covering. See the the latest Temporary Administrative Order (summary below) issued by the Secretary of States office.   Some modifications to the COVID rules included in the memo are:  

  • Physical distancing is no longer required outside of healthcare workplaces.
  • This mask mandate is for indoor public spaces. “Indoor spaces” is defined broadly as anywhere indoors, including but not limited to public and private workplaces, businesses, indoor areas open to the public, building lobbies, common or shared spaces, classrooms, elevators, bathrooms, transportation services and other indoor space where people may gather for any purpose. An indoor space does not include a private residence or a private automobile that is not used for ride sharing.
  • Mask requirements will be back in effect after being repealed on June 30.
  • Regular cleaning and sanitization requirements are not being enforced outside of healthcare workplaces.
  • Make sure signage is posted at your place of business as of today to make everyone aware of the new mask mandate and ensure all employees are wearing masks while indoor. 

Enforcement Information

In the enforcement memo from OSHA, they outline what they will consider as evidence that an employer is making a “reasonable effort” to ensure customers, guests, visitors and others are complying with the mask mandate if the employer:  

  • Ensures employees are wearing face coverings while in an indoor space
  • If practical, provides a regular audio reminder using existing systems – for example, if a store traditionally makes announcements to customers over an audio system, the face mask requirement should also be provided. If a business does not traditionally have such a system or make announcements over a system, they are not required to do so.
  • Does not actively contradict or otherwise undercut the rule’s requirements; for example, by posting additional signs that a mask need not be worn or otherwise suggesting to customers, guests, visitors, or other individuals they need not wear a mask.
  • Enforcement will be a complaint-driven system and as long as signs are up and employees are wearing masks, businesses will not be on the hook for enforcement penalties relating to consumer masking.
  • Face coverings are being worn by consumers from the front door of a restaurant to a table or from a table to a bathroom will not be a predominant area of focus for Oregon OSHA.
  • If an employer knows all employees have been fully vaccinated, complaint-driven investigations by Oregon OSHA of that employer are not expected to result in any serious consequence.

  The new OHA rules elicit a $500 fine, per day per violation against individuals who violate the mask requirement and for businesses who fail to comply with the rules outlined above. OSHA has the ability to levy fines against employers under this mandate. However, OSHA will be enforcing on a complaint basis and has said they will give employers a grace period of two week to achieve full compliance before conducting inspections related to this mandate. OSHA’s penalty structure is based on the severity of the violation, the employer’s history of compliance and employer size.  

Mask Mandate Exceptions

  Here are the exceptions to mask wearing in indoor spaces. Masks are not required if an individual:  

  • Is under five (5) years of age; or is under two (2) years of age and using public transportation or in transportation hubs Is sleeping.
  • Is actively eating or drinking.
  • Is engaged in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face covering or face shield not feasible, such as when actively swimming.
  • Is in a private individual workspace.
  • Must remove the mask, face coverings or face shield briefly because the individual’s identity needs to be confirmed by visual comparison, such as at a bank or if interacting with law enforcement.
  • Is practicing or playing a competitive sport at any level.
  • Is performing, including but not limited to playing music, delivering a speech to an audience, and theater

  The Salem Chamber will continue to keep our members updated on any new developments relating to this mandate.

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