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Oregon May Actually Make Its Mask Mandate Permanent

Gov. Kate Brown Twitter Screenshot

There's been a lot of COVID craziness in Oregon, and it could very well get worse. As Genevieve Reaume of KATU News, a local news outlet, reported and tweeted about, the state is considering making its indoor mask mandate permanent. 

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) held their Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) on Thursday, which provided feedback on the indoor mask rule, as Reaume explained.

She also noted that this is the first step to making the mask mandate permanent:

This is the first step in making the rule permanent. 

Dr. Paul Cieslak, the medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations with OHA, says making the rule permanent doesn't mean it'll be in place forever.

"Permanent means indefinite. It doesn’t necessarily mean permanent," Dr. Cieslak said. "We can repeal it as well, but we are only allowed to have a temporary rule for 180 days, and anything that goes beyond 180 days, we cannot extend it."

Making the rule permanent allows the state to keep the mandate in place.

As Reaume also noted in her reporting, Oregon is one of the few states left with an indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status. 

According to an AARP article from Andy Markowitz that was last updated on November 24, other states include Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington state. Puerto Rico has a similar order in place. Washington, D.C. had one until November 22. 

Washington state even has an outdoor mask mandate for events with 500 or more people. Oregon had an outdoor mandate from August until November. 

When people think of mask mandates and Oregon, this tweet of Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) may come to mind. The tweet was from December 10, 2020, but it resurfaced more recently. 

Speaking of Gov. Brown, she's actually the least popular governor in the country right now. As Leah and Landon highlighted late last month, she had an approval rating of only 43 percent. In fact, most of the most least governors were Democrats, while most of the most popular were Republicans.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, 79.1 percent of Oregonians have received at least one vaccine, while 73.0 percent have had the complete series, and 21.9 percent have had an extra dose.

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