Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) have issued expanded face covering guidance that as of August 13, 2020, requires masks, face coverings, or face shields at all times in all public and private office spaces unless employees are at individual work spaces or in meeting rooms where they can consistently maintain six feet of distance from other people. As we previously reported, Oregonians have been required to wear face coverings in indoor spaces open to the public since July 1, 2020. This new guidance expands the requirement into private offices, including hallways, bathrooms, elevators, lobbies, break rooms, and other common spaces. In what appears to be an oversight, the guidance fails to include private offices among the list of covered businesses, but based on the OHA webpage on mask requirements, as well as the title of the new paragraph (“Public and Private Office Spaces”), OHA very clearly intends to require face coverings in private office spaces.
In addition, Oregon OSHA has issued draft COVID-19 temporary standards that will apply to all workplaces. They would formalize the now familiar six-foot social distancing requirements and also require face coverings whenever six feet of physical distance cannot be consistently ensured. Individuals engaged in forceful exertion or shouting would have to wear face coverings if other people are within 12 feet of the front of them. These draft standards would also impose requirements for reassignment or paid leave for workers directed by a medical provider or public health official to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Oregon OSHA is accepting comments on the draft standards through August 31, 2020. More information is available on the agency’s infectious disease rulemaking webpage. Vigilant will publish a more comprehensive summary when the final standards are published.
Tips: Communicate the new face covering requirements to affected office workers. Keep a supply of suitable masks or face coverings on hand and tell employees they should launder any cloth face coverings after one day’s use. You should update your written safety protocols if needed; contact your Vigilant safety professional for advice. Also see our Model Policy, Social Distancing Policy.