Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Tuesday that face coverings will once again be required in crowded outdoor public spaces.
The announcement comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the state, and Brown says hospitals are struggling to care for a surge in patients.
“I know we’re all tired of masking, but this simple act of kindness and compassion protects our communities and saves lives," Brown said in a video posted to social media. "Masks, in combination with vaccines, are a powerful way we can work together to fight this latest surge in COVID-19 and prevent deaths.”
The new requirement kicks in on Friday, just in time for several large outdoor events, including the Oregon State Fair. Other large outdoor events in the near future include the Pendleton Round-up, and college football season.
Like with all mask mandates, there’s an exception for people who are actively eating and drinking. It does not apply to children age 4 and under.
Other exceptions include, or people practing or playing in athletic competitions, as well as people giving speeches or performing in an outdoor theater or concert.
Oregon, like most other states that had them, relaxed most masking requirements earlier this summer. With the delta variant taking a devastating toll on the healthcare system, Oregon is one of several states that have reimposed a mask mandate in certain settings.
The governor emphasized in her message that the requirement does not apply to people who briefly pass each other such as on a trail or a sidewalk.