File photo: Chas Hundley

During a press conference held Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown said that masks in all indoor public settings would be required, effective Friday, July 13. 

“Because of the Delta variant, yesterday we had over 2,300 COVID-19 cases reported––the highest number since the virus first landed in Oregon—and hospitalizations are also at a record high,” said Governor Brown. “New modeling from OHA and Oregon Health & Science University project that, without new safety interventions, COVID-19 hospitalizations will completely overwhelm our doctors and nurses in the coming weeks. When hospitals run out of beds, we are all at risk.

“We continue to work to reach Oregonians with information and a vaccine, but it’s clear the current situation requires immediate action to stop the Delta variant from spreading further. That’s why, moving forward for the immediate future, masks will be required in all indoor public settings.”

“The latest science is clear that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are able to spread the Delta variant. Masks are simple, and they are effective. Wearing a mask should give you confidence that you are not infecting others, and they are also our best bet at keeping our schools and our businesses open.”

The mask mandate applies to those ages five and older, except on public transit, where it applies to everyone over the age of two. 

“Common sense exemptions apply for activities that would be impractical or impossible

wearing a mask, for example: eating and drinking; swimming and organized, competitive

sports; performances involving singing or speaking in public,” read a fact sheet on the new requirements. 

665 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of today, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

An executive order defining the scope of the order has yet to be published on the state’s website.