State releases more details on new mask requirement

CERT team volunteer Laura Hildebrandt holds out one of the donated masks during a mask collection event at Woodmansee Park on Thursday, April 16. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem area residents won’t have to wear face coverings while going to a gym or while having a beer. But they will have to wear them while visiting the mall or taking a bus or ride-sharing service, according to guidance released Wednesday on the latest state order intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

On Friday, Gov. Kate Brown released further details on her new order requiring residents of seven counties, including Marion and Polk, to wear masks or face coverings while in public starting Wednesday, June 24. After announcing the mandate on Wednesday, Brown followed up on Friday with additional details on how it will play out.

The new rule applies to pharmacies, public-transit agencies, barbershops, spas, salons, massage therapists, tattoo parlors, grocery stores, retailers, ride-sharing services, and indoor entertainment facilities. Volunteers, customers and visitors entering these businesses will all be required to wear face coverings while inside, under the rule.

While the rule also covers bars, breweries, wineries and restaurants, it makes exceptions for while people are eating and drinking. The rule also includes gyms, martial arts centers and pools. But it makes exceptions for when the mask requirement isn’t feasible, such as strenuous physical exercise, singing or playing an instrument as long as the person can maintain at least six feet of distance from others.

Businesses must post signs about the new rule. They’re encouraged to provide face coverings for customers who don’t have them.

The rule makes further exceptions required by disability, labor or accommodation laws. Children under 12 are exempted from the requirements, as are people with medical conditions that make it hard to breathe when wearing a mask. People with disabilities that prevent them from wearing a mask or face shield are also exempted.

At a news conference on Thursday, Brown said that businesses can refuse entry to people not wearing a mask. While the order is enforceable, Brown indicated she’s not intending to arrest or ticket people.

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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.