Oregon Has Updated Face Covering and Mask Requirements

Stoel Rives - World of Employment
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Stoel Rives - World of Employment

The Oregon Health Authority has again modified the state’s requirements for masks and face coverings. The new guidance expands the face covering requirements we wrote about here and here. The new guidance can be found here.

Masks are now required in both public and private workplaces unless the employee’s job does not require interacting with the public or other employees and at least six feet of distance can be maintained from other people. Even in those circumstances, masks are “strongly recommended.” In addition, masks are required in workplace hallways, bathrooms, classrooms, elevators, lobbies, breakrooms, meeting rooms, and other common or shared spaces. Unless an employee has a “private, individual workspace” that is not shared with others, the new rules require a mask or face covering while at work. (Reasonable accommodations, of course, are required.) This guidance is a change from earlier guidance that did not require face coverings if six feet of distance could be maintained; under the new guidance, individuals in communal spaces such as break rooms and conference or meeting rooms must wear face coverings.

The guidance also clarifies that masks are preferable to face shields, as aerosols can go around the shield, and that use of a face shield without a mask is permissible only “on a very limited basis.”

To ensure compliance with this latest guidance, employers should confirm that employees are wearing masks at work unless they are in a private, individual workspace that they do not share with others. Remind employees that even in meeting rooms and conference rooms, masks must be worn and social distancing maintained. And, remind your employees who have private workspaces (their own office or cubicle) that, at a minimum, masks must be worn when moving around the workplace, and that masks are recommended at all times.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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