May 25, 2021

Multnomah County will move from “High Risk” to “Lower Risk” on Thursday, May 27, allowing more people to gather inside businesses, faith institutions, fitness centers, and other indoor and outdoor venues. Gov. Kate Brown made the announcement in a press release today.

But please note, even as this shift occurs, the Multnomah County Public Health Division recommends that everyone continue wearing masks in any indoor public spaces for the time being.

Guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Oregon already advise unvaccinated people to continue wearing masks indoors. Public Health is advising everyone else to keep wearing masks because, in many situations, there is no practical way to tell who is fully protected.

“Masks work, and we ask you to keep masking up until our vaccination rates go up and our disease rates go down further,’’ said Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey. “Thousands of people have been fully vaccinated across this county, but not in every neighborhood or age group. Nearly one-third of those eligible have not yet received any shot, particularly young people. Masks can help us avoid new infections, especially as we still have hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in Oregon occurring everyday.’’

At least 67 percent of people ages 16 and older have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in Multnomah County. Today, the state announced it has approved the County's detailed plan on how it will address low vaccination rates among some communities of color,  

“We want to thank everyone in this community who has worked so hard to get us to ‘Lower Risk,’’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “For those who haven't yet gotten vaccinated, our sites are open, our volunteers are standing by and our community needs you to be protected. Every shot takes us one step closer to being able to do more of what we love, with those we love.’’

You can drop into any County vaccine site and find locations and hours of operations here.

A detailed list of allowed “Lower Risk’’ activities is on the state’s website. 

You can also download and post this Health Department sign encouraging mask wearing indoors in two sizes: English 8.5 x 11English 11x17

King County issued a similar mask recommendation on May 20, with Public Health Director Patty Hayes saying: "King County has done remarkably well compared to other parts of the U.S. throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and although we are beginning the transition toward fewer mandates and more personal decision-making, we need to continue doing what's been working for us for a bit longer." 

Multnomah County’s Director Guernsey said Public Health is continuing to work closely with community-based organizations to ensure people get access both to vaccines and the information they need to make an informed decision.

“But we need everyone’s help,” Guernsey said. “If you’ve been vaccinated, perhaps you can help someone who hasn’t yet, whether that’s by offering a ride to a clinic, giving someone time off work, or helping a parent with childcare. 

“And remember, please continue using masks indoors, whether you are vaccinated or not.’’

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