August 13, 2021
by Randi Ensley

Oregon Health Authority Issues Temporary Rule Requiring Masks Be Worn Indoors Statewide

Randi EnsleyIn response to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced that indoor mask use will be mandatory regardless of vaccination status starting Friday, Aug. 13, 2021. On August 12, OHA issued the rules for the new statewide mask requirement.

Notably, the rules define “indoor spaces” broadly as anywhere indoors, including but not limited to public and private workplaces, businesses, indoor areas open to the public, building lobbies, common or shared spaces, classrooms, elevators, bathrooms, transportation services and other indoor space where people may gather for any purpose.

There are, however, exceptions to mask wearing in indoor spaces. Masks are not required if an individual:

  • Is under five (5) years of age; or is under two (2) years of age and using public transportation or in transportation hubs.
  • Is sleeping.
  • Is actively eating or drinking.
  • Is engaged in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face covering or face shield not feasible, such as when actively swimming.
  • Is in a private individual workspace that is enclosed on all sides with walls from floor to ceiling and with a closed door.
  • Must remove the mask, face coverings or face shield briefly because the individual’s identity needs to be confirmed by visual comparison, such as at a bank or if interacting with law enforcement.
  • Is practicing or playing a competitive sport at any level.
  • Is performing, including but not limited to playing music, delivering a speech to an audience, and theater.

Those responsible for an indoor space must:

  • Ensure that employees, contractors, and volunteers comply with this rule within the indoor space.
  • Make reasonable efforts to ensure customers, guests, visitors and other individuals comply with this rule within the indoor space.
  • Post signs at every entrance to the indoor space that face coverings are required. Signs can be found here.

Employers and places of public accommodation must still make reasonable accommodations in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, ORS 659.850 or applicable provisions of ORS 659A.

Violators of these rules risk civil penalties of up to $500 per day per violation. The penalties may be assessed to individuals and those responsible for an indoor space.

If you have any questions regarding this mask mandate and what it means for your business, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 503-595-6112.

Posted by Randi Ensley.