The state of Oregon is yet again seeking to expand its coronavirus efforts through the creation of a statewide coronavirus vaccine verification system and by making an indoor mask mandate permanent, before the temporary measure expires in February 2022.
The Hermiston Herald reports that on Tuesday, November 30, Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen “confirmed the state is working to create a system that would allow venues requiring proof of vaccination to more easily check records.”
Allen added that “the program would not involve any state mandates, but streamline the ability of businesses, such as the Portland Trailblazers, that have vaccination requirements for venues to verify vaccination status.”
Prior to the confirmation of such a system, Oregon state representative E. Werner Reschke warned, “The Digital Vaccine Records (aka passport) being developed by @OHAOregon will NOT only be for vaccines.”
“The Communists in State government will find other ways to use it to make you obey their whims,” he added.
The Digital Vaccine Records (aka passport) being developed by .@OHAOregon will NOT only be for vaccines. The Communists in State government will find other ways to use it to make you obey their whims.
— E. Werner Reschke 🇺🇸 (@EWReschke) November 22, 2021
Then on Thursday, December 2, local outlet KGW8 reports that OHA’s Rules Advisory Committee “met to begin the process of drafting a permanent set of rules for the state’s indoor mask requirement.”
The local media outlet notes that while the state ended its outdoor mask requirement last week, the OHA is aiming to extend the indoor mandate. Making the mandate permanent would end the need to reconvene every 180 days to extend temporary mask mandates which have been intermittent since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
According to local media, the meeting on Thursday gave “industry stakeholders, such as representatives from the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, a chance to review a draft copy of the proposed permanent rule and offer feedback for OHA staff to consider.”
OHA emphasized the permanent rule could be repealed when deemed appropriate, but it remains unclear what metrics are being used to determine the “safety” of repealing indoor masks.
In response to local reporter Genevieve Reaume who insisted now was “not the time to freak out” about the permanent mandate, “Rightly” host Stephen Kent argued, “Actually now is a good time to freak out folks. If you dont push now, get vocal now…its over and repeal will be a far harder fight” (sic)
Actually now is a good time to freak out folks. If you dont push now, get vocal now…its over and repeal will be a far harder fight.
— Stephen Kent (@Stephen_Kent89) December 3, 2021
Oregon is one of six states with a remaining indoor mask mandates in effect.