House GOP office urges governor to rethink mask policy
Some of Oregon's Republican lawmakers are urging the governor to rethink the state's new mask policy out of concern it puts pressure on front-line workers and leaves them open to confrontations.
A letter sent to Gov. Kate Brown Tuesday by the House Republican Office insists that Oregon should not "be an outlier on the West Coast" and follow the lead of Washington and California and not require business owners to the check vaccine status of patrons who prefer to go mask-less.
Earlier this month, the CDC issued a recommendation that people who are fully vaccinated can go without masks at most indoor and outdoor public places. People are considered fully vaccinated once two weeks have passed since their second Pfizer or Moderna shot or their single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
"Both the White House and the CDC have stated that the federal government will never support a vaccine verification system, nor have they mandated that businesses do so," the letter states.
It goes on to point out that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee allowed businesses to adopt an honor system and assume that any customer not wearing a face covering has been fully vaccinated. Lawmakers added that California plans to align with the CDC's mask guidance on June 15, when state leaders plan to fully reopen the economy.
"The state's Health and Human Services Director, Dr. Mark Ghaly, told reporters that California is not considering or requiring a vaccine passport for vendors," the letter says.
House Republicans stress that Oregon's current mask rules "puts pressure on businesses and exposes front-line workers to confrontation."
"At the beginning of the pandemic, Oregon committed to aligning regulations with Washington and California. We should not become an outlier now," lawmakers stated. "We are reaching the end of the pandemic and should be lifting mandates, not adding new ones. We request that you end this vaccine passport/verification system immediately. It is time to place our trust in Oregonians again. They have earned it."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.