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The mask order takes effect Wednesday, July 1, as new COVID-19 cases mount up in Oregon.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Gov. Kate Brown, at a news conference earlier this spring, touted the importance of wearing masks during the pandemic. Gov. Kate Brown says face masks or other coverings will be required in all indoor public spaces statewide starting Wednesday, July 1.

Brown told reporters Saturday she had hoped not to tighten restrictions intended to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. But Oregon has seen an increased number of cases throughout the state.

The face-covering order already had been in effect in eight of Oregon's 36 counties, including all three Portland area counties, plus Hood River County, Marion and Polk counties in the Mid-Willamette Valley and Clatsop and Lincoln counties on the coast.

Brown said the lead would be taken by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OR-OSHA, which is responsible for workplace safety.

Excerpts from Brown's statement Monday, June 29:

"The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference.

"Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don't take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks.

"The choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter.

"Face coverings that cover your nose and mouth play a critical role in reducing the spread of this disease because droplets from our breath can carry the virus to others without us realizing it. If we all wear face coverings, practice six feet of physical distancing in public, wash our hands regularly, and stay home when we are sick, then we can avoid the worst-case scenarios that are now playing out in other states.

"I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public."

Brown said coronavirus cases increased after the Memorial Day weekend, and another jump after the Independence Day weekend could reverse much of the progress Oregon has made against the disease.

"Oregonians have all made incredible sacrifices over the last several months that have saved thousands of lives," she said. "The actions we take now can protect our friends, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Oregonians from this disease, and prevent the need for another statewide shutdown. We are truly all in this together."

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