Oregon Plans Permanent Indoor Masking


Dr. Paul Cieslak – the medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations with OHA – said just because the rule would be permanent doesn’t mean it will be enacted forever.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) met on Thursday for about two hours to begin the process of drafting an order to make the state’s indoor mask requirement permanent.

“Community stakeholders, including those from the hospitality and faith sectors, joined in the meeting,” KOMO reported. “People from the Seventh Day Adventists Church, the High Desert Museum, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and McMenamins were a part of the conversation.”

Some of the private business representatives expressed concerns about people not wanting to comply with mask mandates.

“Getting people to comply is getting harder,” said Paloma Sparks from the Oregon Business & Industry Association.

Dr. Paul Cieslak is the medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations with OHA. He said just because the rule would be permanent doesn’t mean it will be enacted forever.

“Permanent means indefinite. It doesn’t necessarily mean permanent,” Dr. Cieslak told KATU. “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.”

The public will be permitted to offer comments when OHA proposes the indoor mask rule formally, the date of which has yet to be announced.

Kate Brown, ready for a masked Christmas

Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore., reinstated an outdoor mask mandate in the state amid the surge of the delta variant in August. The OHA repealed the outdoor mask mandate in November but kept it in place indoors.

“We continue to see a concerning pattern of COVID-19 spread throughout the state, with the heaviest concentrations found in counties with lagging vaccination rates,” OHA Director Pat Allen said at the time.


Other health experts, such as Johns Hopkins Professor Marty Makary, have spoken against indefinite mask mandates.

“We may have a baseline rate of COVID cases hovering around where they are now in the Southeast forever,” Makary said in a November interview. “We are entering an endemic phase and the question we need to ask as a society is, do we want a perpetual society with people masked?”

Makary added: “And the marginal benefit of masking is diminishing as the prevalence declines. Also, in many instances, we’re requiring masks of people at the absolute lowest risk and by insisting on throwing the kitchen sink at virus transmission we will have to pay the piper somehow. That may come in the form of a loss of human connection, more increased mental health problems, and in children a series of problems including issues in development and speech development and other downsides.”

[There is not one peer-reviewed study that shows masks make a difference. It’s like holding up a chain-link fence to this tiny virus.]

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