Oregon health officials lift outdoor mask mandate, effective immediately

mask outdoors
Children wearing mask outdoors (Image courtesy of Envato)

The outdoor mask mandate has been officially lifted, as the Oregon Health Authority announced Tuesday it is no longer in effect. Officials base their decision on recent efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

“This decision, which takes effect immediately, reflects the overall progress we have seen on the COVID-19 front here in Oregon,” Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen said in a statement. “And it is a testament to the perseverance of all Oregonians in faithfully adopting the public health interventions we know are effective in containing the spread of the disease.”

Oregon has been the only state that requires a face-covering in public settings outdoors, with Washington requiring it only for outdoor events attended by 500 or more people. Following the Delta surge, the mask requirement was implemented in Oregon in August in crowded outdoor areas. California, New York, and Connecticut still require masks indoors for those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

To date, regardless of their vaccinated status against COVID-19, only a handful of places in the US still require most people to wear masks in indoor public places — Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oregon. This also includes Puerto Rico.

Although the COVID-19 landscape is markedly improved, we are not yet at a point where we can consider relaxing the guidance on wearing masks in indoor public settings,” Allen said.

Earlier this month, there were news reports to suggest at least for now, Oregon has no timeline in sight, or metrics for ending the mask mandate in the state.