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With limited exceptions, all remaining industry-specific and activity-specific workplace guidance will be repealed.

COURTESY PHOTO: BEND BULLETIN - Oregon COVID-19 workplace guidance will change soon.Oregon OSHA is updating its COVID-19 workplace guidelines.

In an email, agency spokesman Aaron Corvin confirmed that changes to workplace rules are coming.

"We expect to initiate rulemaking to make changes to the COVID rule for all workplaces this week," he said.

An agency memo states that, with the exception of first responders, firefighters, emergency medical services and non-emergency medical transport sectors, Oregon OSHA "will repeal all other remaining industry-specific and activity-specific workplace guidance."

Workplace requirements for "exceptional risk workplaces" — defined by OSHA as workplaces involving direct patient care and similar activities — "will generally remain in place," according to the memo, until OSHA has had discussions with stakeholders and Oregon Health Authority. OSHA plans to repeal the remaining requirements "as they become no longer necessary."

Until the new rulemaking is announced, the memo says that Oregon OSHA will not enforce provisions of COVID-19 workplace rules except for the following:

• In general workplaces, the memo says that employers must allow workers to voluntarily use facial coverings and provide facial coverings at no cost to workers.

• Employers also must cover the costs associated with COVID-19 testing if the testing is "conducted at the employer's direction."

In the memo, Oregon OSHA recommends general workplaces should continue to use ventilation systems, follow current quarantine recommendations and give notice to workers who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 within 24 hours. These recommendations are denoted in the memo with the word "should" rather than "must."

More information will be available from OSHA as the rulemaking unfolds.

The Capital Press and Bend Bulletin are news partners of the Pamplin Media Group.

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