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The Oregon Health Authority loosens mask restrictions following the CDC announcement last week.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Businesses can still adopt their own policies that differ from state guidelines.The Oregon Health Authority loosened mask restrictions Tuesday, May 18, which included allowing fully vaccinated people to be indoors in most public settings without a face covering.

In public settings where vaccination status is checked, masks will not be required, the agency said Tuesday. If there is no vaccination status being checked, however, masks will still be needed.

In addition, the health authority said businesses and venue operators can set their own mask policies.

Finally, mask requirements no longer apply to anyone who is outdoors, though the health authority said it recommends wearing a mask in crowded areas and large gatherings and to maintain physical distance as much as possible.

The announcement follows the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's decision last week stating those who are fully vaccinated could stop wearing masks and stop physical distancing in most public spaces.

"Masks continue to save lives and protect people who are not vaccinated," said Oregon Health Authority Director Patrick Allen. "However, last week's announcement from the CDC emphasizes the point that safe and effective vaccines are the very best way to protect people from getting and spreading COVID."

The new Oregon guidance says:

• Individuals in Oregon are no longer required to wear a face mask or physically distance, whether indoors or outdoors, two weeks after their final COVID-19 vaccination dose. A "fully vaccinated individual" is a person who has received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual's final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

• However, fully vaccinated individuals are required to continue wearing a mask and observe physical distancing on public transportation and in schools, hospitals and clinics, homeless shelters, youth and adult correctional facilities and long-term care facilities.

• Businesses, employers and faith institutions can choose to no longer require masks and physical distancing for fully vaccinated individuals or continue to require masks and physical distancing in their locations for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status.

• If a business, employer or faith institution chooses to no longer require masks and physical distancing, the business, employer or faith institution must require visitors to show proof of vaccination and review the proof of vaccination. In that case, a business would need to have a policy for checking the vaccination status of customers and employees if they are not wearing masks. Fully vaccinated individuals would need to provide proof they'd been vaccinated if they want to remove face coverings and not observe physical distancing guidelines.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.


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