Health officials in Oregon are considering making mask mandates a “permanent rule” until they determine “it is no longer necessary.”
Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacted a mask rule on Nov. 16. But that’s set to expire on May 4, inspiring some officials to push to make it permanent.
“Although the rule must be adopted as a permanent rule, its purpose is to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” the proposal reads. “Oregon OSHA intends to repeal the rule when it is no longer necessary to address the pandemic. Because it is not possible to assign a specific time for that decision, Oregon OSHA will consult with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, and other stakeholders as circumstances change to determine when all or part of the rule can be appropriately repealed.”
It’s unclear how officials will decide when masks are “no longer necessary.”
“The state mask mandates however, which are particularly stringent, are becoming a progressively burdensome issue for a COVID-fatigued public one year into the pandemic,” The Federalist reported. “Even outdoor sports teams under state regulations are mandated to wear facial coverings where the arbitrary measure of six-feet distancing cannot be guaranteed.”
Members of high school cross-country running teams are even required to wear masks.
“The state has mandated masks be worn during all practices and competitions for high school sports. It’s a rule many coaches and runners are unhappy with, saying it’s difficult to competitively run 5,000 meters while masked. They also worry it could be dangerous,” reported The Register-Guard newspaper.
“It’s tragic to watch,” South Eugene coach Steve Richards told the paper. “It’s hard as a coach to send your kids out there. There’s been a lot of theorizing about the health risks between wearing a mask and not wearing one, and I can’t speak to those. I just know the looks on their faces. They’re running their guts out.”
Earlier this month, Texas lifted its statewide mask mandate, and businesses were allowed to reopen “100%,” Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced.
While other states are doing away with mask mandates as well, some are calling on businesses to urge their customers to keep wearing them — and some will keep the mandate intact.
For instance, while theme parks in California are set to reopen in April, a group that oversees the parks say visitors will be required to wear masks — and should not scream or shout while on rides, including roller coasters.
“The California Attractions and Parks Association advises in the new guidelines for its ‘Responsible Reopening Plan’ that theme park visitors should avoid activities that increase the spread of COVID-19, such as singing, shouting, heavy breathing and raising one’s voice,” reports People.
“This rule applies when visitors are on the parks’ rides, meaning guests are recommended to stay silent on roller coasters that usually encourage people to do anything but,” the magazine said.
Disneyland is set to reopen on April 30, but only California residents will be allowed to visit.