Oregon to reinstate statewide indoor mask mandate

Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownBBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Obama pushes world to do more at COP26 Hawaii governor urges bolder climate action: Net zero is 'not good enough' MORE (D) on Tuesday announced that her state would be reinstating its statewide mask mandate for indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status in light of rising new COVID-19 cases brought on by the delta variant.

As The Oregonian reports, Brown announced that she would be sharing more details on the state's mask mandate on Wednesday. She did not specify when it will go into effect.

Brown also announced that she would be joining other Democratic state governors in requiring state employees to show proof of full vaccination by Oct. 18, though her order will only apply to state workers in the executive branch.

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“Oregon is facing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations — consisting overwhelmingly of unvaccinated individuals — that is quickly exceeding the darkest days of our winter surge,” Brown said in a statement, the Oregonian reports.

“After a year and a half of this pandemic, I know Oregonians are tired of health and safety restrictions. This new mask requirement will not last forever, but it is a measure that can save lives right now," she added.

The Oregon governor has resisted calls to reinstate the state's mask mandate so far, The Oregonian notes, with her saying that she would be leaving that decision up to local leaders. However, the newspaper reports that only one county in Oregon announced a mask mandate in the month that she was called on to issue one.

SEIU 503, one of Oregon's largest public worker unions, backs universal vaccinations but wants negotiations over the effects the mandate would have.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, nearly 60 percent of Oregon's total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oregon has a seven-day moving average of just more than 1,100 daily cases.