Today, the Oregon Health Authority issued its revised guidance for the use of face masks, face coverings, or face shields (“masking requirement”) in light of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s revised guidance allowing vaccinated persons to forego masking in most settings. The guidance applies statewide. The highly anticipated revisions allow fully vaccinated persons to forego masking in some but not all settings. However, employers, businesses, and other places of public accommodation are left with difficult decisions to make regarding the application of the masking requirement.
Fully vaccinated persons, meaning anyone for whom two weeks has passed since receiving the single or both doses of a two-dose vaccine, are no longer required to wear face masks, face coverings, or face shields except when they are at a business or place of public accommodation that maintains masking requirements; in a health care setting; jail/correctional facility; shelter/transitional housing; on planes or trains or other public transportation; or at K-12 schools.
K-12 schools must continue to follow the “Ready School, Safe Learners” guidance. No changes have been made to that guidance today.
Businesses and places of public accommodation may require all persons (employees, customers, visitors, vendors, etc.) to follow more stringent masking requirements than this new guidance, i.e., vaccinated people can still be required to wear face masks, face coverings, or face shields. Additionally, businesses and places of public accommodation can exclude people from the location if a person is not compliant.
However, any person can request relief from the masking requirement due to a disability that prevents masking or due to a medical condition that makes following masking difficult to breathe. No further information or guidance is given on how the business or place of public accommodation is to respond to such a request, or whether the business or place of public accommodation can ask for supporting information or documentation, or what consequence could arise for asking or if the person refuses to provide any supporting information or documentation.
Employers, businesses, and places of public accommodation are also still required to accommodate all persons if required by state or federal disability laws, labor laws, public accommodations laws, or Oregon Health Authority guidance. Employers, businesses, and places of public accommodation are not given further guidance on compliance, and if any questions should contact their legal counsel for further assistance.
For the unvaccinated, the statewide masking requirement largely continues unchanged. Masking is required unless a person is under at home; at a private home where all others are vaccinated and the person is at low risk for COVID-19; in a personal car; while eating, drinking, sleeping, showering/bathing, in a private individual workspace; outdoors (masking still strongly recommended in crowded areas or at large outdoor gatherings); under five years old except on public transportation; anyone under age two. Masks must still be removed for identification purposes, such as at banks or as requested by law enforcement. All employers and all colleges and universities and career schools must provide masks for those who do not have them, and other businesses and places of public accommodation are encouraged to make masks available.
The content of this Alert is provided for general information purposes only. It should not be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for consulting an attorney for legal advice.
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