Governor Kate Brown today announced new statewide outdoor mask requirements to help stop the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Effective Friday, August 27, masks will be required in most public outdoor settings, including large outdoor events, where physical distancing is not possible, and regardless of vaccination status. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) also strongly recommends masking for outdoor gatherings at private residences when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance.
“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” said Governor Brown. “Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19.
“The Delta variant is much more contagious than previous variants we’ve seen, and it has dramatically increased the amount of virus in our communities. Masks have proven to be effective at bringing case counts down, and are a necessary measure right now, even in some outdoor settings, to help fight COVID and protect one another.”
Under the Governor’s direction, the OHA rule will require masks for all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — in outdoor settings in which individuals from different households are unable to consistently maintain physical distance. The rule does not apply to fleeting encounters, such as two individuals walking by one another on a trail or in a park. While the rule does not apply to outdoor gatherings at private residences, masks are strongly recommended in those settings when individuals from different households do not consistently maintain physical distance.
“It is much easier for people with the Delta variant, compared to people who were sick last year, to infect others around them,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “This is because they have one thousand times more virus in their nose – which means that those around them are much more likely to get sick because this variant behaves so differently. We are starting to see instances where cases are clustering around events, like outdoor music festivals, that happen outdoors. Wearing masks in crowded settings – even outdoors – will help slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The rule aligns with the exceptions outlined in the recent statewide indoor mask requirements, and does not apply to: • Children under 5 years old; • Individuals who are actively eating, drinking, or sleeping — as well as individuals living outdoors, such as persons experiencing houselessness; • Persons playing or practicing competitive sports, or engaged in an activity in which it is not feasible to wear a mask — such as swimming; • Individuals delivering a speech or performing — such as with outdoor music or theater; • Mask requirements for day-to-day operations at K-12 schools are not governed by this rule, and will instead continue to fall under the school mask rule. Outside public events, spectator events, and gatherings of the general public on K-12 school grounds will be subject to the rule. Child care and youth programs will continue to follow existing OHA mask guidance; and • In addition, entities subject to the ADA must continue to comply with that law.
The OHA rule will go into effect this Friday, August 27, however Oregonians are strongly encouraged to immediately start wearing masks outdoors, as outlined above.
Governor Brown continued, “The combination of vaccines and masks is the most powerful way we can fight this latest surge of COVID-19 and save lives. Vaccination continues to be the best way you can protect yourself and your family from the Delta variant, and the most effective way we can help our exhausted nurses and doctors, who are working around the clock to treat Oregonians sick with COVID in our ICUs — the majority of which are unvaccinated individuals. With the full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week, we have additional reassurance that the vaccines are safe and effective.”
A video message from Governor Brown is available here.
Due to ongoing safety concerns due to Fire, Rescue and Police services not being able to access the beach due to the beach drive accesses blocked by parked vehicles, the beach drive access located at NW 15th St is closed until noon on September 07, 2021. NW 34th Ct. beach drive access will remain closed through December 31, 2021. Amendment to City Council Resolution 2021-34 (City Council Resolution 2021-38).
Governor Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, August 25, in honor of Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant John Burright. Sergeant Burright died on May 4 after an almost 20-year fight with disabling injuries sustained on September 4, 2001, in the line of duty while he was assisting a driver on I-5; he retired from OSP in 2002 due to his injuries. OSP Senior Trooper Maria Mingano and Albany Police Officer Jason Hoerauf were killed the day of the incident. Sergeant Burright’s death represents Oregon State Police’s 35th line-of-duty death.
This flag order applies to the date of Sergeant Burright’s memorial service (August 25) at the Salem Armory. The service is open to the public, and there will be will be an emergency vehicle procession from Albany to the Salem Armory prior to the start.
“Sergeant John Burright’s service and dedication to Oregon is not forgotten,” said Governor Brown. “My heart goes out to his family and loved ones, and I extend my sincere appreciation, and the gratitude of all Oregonians, for his many years of service to the communities of Roseburg, Albany, and Salem.”
For more information on Sergeant Burright’s memorial service, and to learn how to make a contribution to the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, visit here.
To support recovery and resiliency, the Lincoln County Long-Term Recovery Group is inviting the community to the “One year later, reflections on Echo Mountain” event. Come share and reflect on local experiences during the Echo Mountain Complex Fire last September.
This event is FREE to all community members and will have live music, refreshments, and resource information booths. Bring chairs or blankets for outdoor seating and carpool or use County transit as parking is limited. Current public health recommendations for COVID-19 precautions will be followed.
WHAT: Community Event – “One year later, reflections on Echo Mountain
Portland, OR—Governor Kate Brown today ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, August 21, in honor of Representative Gary Leif, who died on July 22 after battling cancer. Representative Leif had represented Oregon’s House District 2 since 2018. This flag order coincides with the date of Representative Leif’s memorial service in Roseburg.
“Our hearts are with Representative Gary Leif’s family, friends, and fellow lawmakers,” said Governor Brown. “In the Capitol, I always appreciated working with Gary. It never mattered to him if we came from different backgrounds or different parties. The most important thing for him was representing the people of Douglas County and looking after their needs.”
Health care workers, K-12 educators, staff, and volunteers required to be fully vaccinated PORTLAND, OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced two new vaccination measures to address Oregon’s hospital crisis, caused by the Delta variant surge, and to help keep Oregon students safe in the upcoming school year and minimize disruptions to in-person instruction: –Oregon’s vaccination requirement for health care workers will no longer have a testing alternative. Health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later. –All teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18 or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.
“The Delta variant has put enormous pressure on our health systems, and health care workers are being stretched to their absolute limits providing life-saving treatment for the patients in their care,” said Governor Brown. “I am devoting all available resources to help, and we must proactively implement solutions right now. We need every single frontline health care worker healthy and available to treat patients.”
In both cases, health care workers and educators who are not yet vaccinated are urged to speak with their doctor or primary care provider to get their remaining questions about vaccination answered immediately, so they can begin the vaccination process in time to meet the new requirements. In the case of educators, the Governor outlined the importance of masks and staff vaccinations to protect students: because children under 12 are still not yet eligible for vaccination, masks are a critical mitigation measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ensuring all the adults around students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for students as well.
“Our kids need to be in the classroom full-time, five days a week, and we have to do everything we can to make that happen,” said Governor Brown. “While we are still learning about the Delta variant, we know from previous experience that when schools open with safety measures in place, the risk of transmission is low. That’s why I’ve directed the Oregon Health Authority to issue a rule requiring all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated.”
The Governor also outlined the steps Oregon is taking to support hospitals during the ongoing surge in cases and hospitalizations, including deploying the National Guard and nurse strike teams, establishing temporary decompression units to free up bed space, and removing barriers to discharging patients who no longer require hospital-level care. Oregon has also made requests to FEMA and the Biden-Harris administration for additional federal resources and support. The Governor announced she has formed a Hospital Crisis Prevention and Response group consisting of health care stakeholders to problem solve in real time and suggest new measures to aid health care workers and hospitals during the ongoing hospital crisis.
Additional Materials –A recording of today’s Press Conference — with an American Sign Language simulcast — is available on YouTube. Please note the video starts at the 19:49 mark. –An HD recording of today’s Press Conference for members of the media is available on Vimeo. –A copy of the Governor’s prepared remarks is available here.
The Oregon State Parks have now banned all fires in all state parks, campgrounds and beaches along the coast from the Lincoln County north border (Salmon River) to the Oregon/California border. https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm…
No campfires even in designated campfire areas. This includes charcoal fires, cooking fires, warming fires, propane fire pits, candles, tiki torches and other devices that emit flames or embers.
*Portable cooking stoves using liquefied or bottle fuels and propane/liquid-fueled lanterns are allowed.
Oregon is entering its second consecutive dry summer and is bracing for what has already proved to be another devastating wildfire season. While some wildfires are a natural part of Oregon’s landscape, the fire season in Oregon and across the West is starting earlier and ending later each year. Sadly, we are no exception in Lincoln County.
Warmer spring and summer temperatures, reduced rainfall, and earlier record high temperatures create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation and make our landscape more susceptible to severe wildfire. As the seasonal grasses and fuels have already cured in the East, the coastal communities of the West are rapidly catching up. Fuel moistures are at an all-time low.The current drought conditions in Lincoln County coupled with reduced measurable precipitation in the region have forced this decision. Local and adjoining county fire service leadership with support from our partners at ODF, BLM, USFS, and OSFM endorse this decision in Lincoln County based on predictive fuel modeling, current fire conditions throughout the state, and significant fire history in the area. With the Echo Mountain Complex Fires not at all forgotten, let this proactive measure serve as a reminder that we take last year’s events seriously. With limited resources on hand and no long-term relief in sight, now is the time to implement these planned restrictions, which also come earlier each year.
Oregon State Parks Update
Fires are prohibited on beaches and in coastal day-use areas in Lincoln County south to Oregon’s border with California.
>The ban includes wood, charcoal briquettes, candles, tiki torches and other devices that emit flames or embers.
>Propane stoves and other cooking devices that have a shutoff valve are allowed. Campfires are allowed in Oregon State Parks campgrounds.