On August 27, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) published temporary regulations requiring masks to be worn outdoors as well as indoors, with limited exceptions, effective immediately. The new rules incorporate and replace the existing indoor mask requirements that we previously reported here. The added outdoor mask mandate says that regardless of vaccination against COVID-19 (coronavirus), individuals who aren’t from the same household must wear masks outdoors if they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing. The new rules define outdoor spaces to include “anywhere outdoors where people from separate households may gather for any purpose, including but not limited to public and private workplaces, shared or common spaces, outdoor sports fields, venues, parks, and rooftop terraces” but not outdoor areas that are part of private residences. A person responsible for an outdoor space must post signs at every entrance that face coverings are required. An organizer of an event or gathering at an outdoor space must not only post signs at entrances but also ensure that employees, contractors, and volunteers comply with the rule. Oregon OSHA is responsible for enforcement. Civil penalties for noncompliance are up to $500 per day per violation. The new rules are in effect through February 8, 2022, unless rescinded sooner.
Tips: The new requirements for wearing masks outdoors apply not only to people working outdoors, but also to outdoor areas where employees may congregate for breaks or meals. Workers don’t have to wear masks if they’re actively eating or drinking, but otherwise they should keep at least 6 feet apart outdoors if they don’t want to wear masks. If you haven’t already done so, take appropriate measures to comply with these rules immediately. Most importantly, support and train your managers to enforce these safety rules. As we previously recommended, you should have a supply of clean masks ready for any worker who needs them, at no charge, and offer replacements as necessary. OHA’s COVID-19 webpage posted updated FAQs on mask requirements on August 31, 2021. If you have questions about compliance with Oregon’s indoor or outdoor mask requirements in the workplace, contact your Vigilant safety professional.