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Benton County ‘Strongly Recommends’ Face Coverings But Does Not Require Them


Benton County isn’t in the part of Oregon affected by Governor Kate Brown’s face covering mandate. But county leaders are still strongly encouraging residents to wear them anyway.

The governor’s decision to require face coverings in indoor public places applies to seven counties, mostly in the northern Willamette Valley. Benton County isn’t included, but county commissioners Thursday approved a resolution that “strongly recommends” the use of masks.

The commissioners said they’re hoping to gain voluntary compliance without actually making it a requirement. As of Thursday, Benton was still in the bottom half of the counties in Oregon in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita. But commissioners said they could pass an ordinance to make face coverings in public places mandatory if there’s a local spike in cases.

According to public health officials, face coverings help slow the spread of the virus that causes the disease.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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