A statewide face covering mandate goes into effect today, July 1, as public health officials watch cases of COVID-19 ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend.
Gov. Kate Brown announced earlier this week she was extending the regional face covering mandate that included Multnomah County and warned businesses that Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and other state agencies would enforce the requirement for all covered Oregon businesses. [File a complaint with OSHA]
Multnomah County Public Health Director Rachael Banks urged residents and businesses to adhere to the mandate.
“The number of cases is going up quickly. For everyone's sake, cover your nose and mouth with a face covering when you go into any indoor public space and wherever you can’t keep six feet of distance. That’s what we expect most people to do.”
Public health is watching the number of COVID cases rise ahead of the July 4th weekend, fearing a surge in social mixing could spur a steeper surge in cases that could put health systems at risk and jeopardize recent loosening of restrictions on public life.
“If we want some semblance of our previous lives being around others, it has to come with nose and mouth covered,” Banks said.
Multnomah County is working with businesses and other organizations to encourage compliance and make sure people get the supplies they need. Meanwhile a growing team in Public Health works to tamp down virus spread and a network of community organizations work with sick and exposed individuals to make sure people have what they need to isolate at home.
“Right now, we are scaling up contact tracing, responding to outbreaks, standing up focused testing,” she said. “We need the public to consistently wear face covering. And wear it correctly.”