Alternate headline: Bureaucrats determined to make blue state shift to GOP. Perhaps this proposal from Oregon’s chief of its Occupational Safety and Health Division won’t accomplish the impossible, but it certainly has Oregon residents hopping mad. The state’s current mask mandate will expire in two weeks, and Michael Wood wants to dispense with the red tape around renewing rules.So why not make the mask mandate “permanent,” Wood asks?
As states around the country lift COVID-19 restrictions, Oregon is poised to go the opposite direction — and many residents are fuming about it.
A top health official is considering indefinitely extending rules requiring masks and social distancing in all businesses in the state.
The proposal would keep the rules in place until they are “no longer necessary to address the effects of the pandemic in the workplace.”
Michael Wood, administrator of the state’s department of Occupational Safety and Health, said the move is necessary to address a technicality in state law that requires a “permanent” rule to keep current restrictions from expiring.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said.
Of all the proposed “new normals,” that’s, er … certainly one of them. Unfortunately for Wood, it’s not one that Oregonians endorse. OSHD received five thousand comments on the rule proposal, five times more than any other comment count in its history. The vast majority of those are negative, which Wood paints as a reaction to any COVID-19 restrictions. His opponents say that businesses and residents deserve to know when those will end, not keep them open-ended . . .
From what I know of Oregon, having lived there entirely too long (a story for a different day), I would guess that mask mandates are widely ignored outside Portland (antifa does love their masks), and the bigger cities of the Willamette Valley.
That raises the question of what exactly Oregon’s mask-mandate rule is. It makes no allowance for outdoor activity at all:
- Masks are currently required statewide at all times unless you are:
- At your own residence.
- In your own personal vehicle.
- Under five (5) years of age.
- Eating or drinking.
- Engaged in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face covering or face shield not feasible, such as when taking a shower.
- In a private, individual workspace.
- Removing the mask briefly because your identity needs to be confirmed by visual comparison, such as at a bank or if interacting with law enforcement.
I have visions of the loggers and ranchers of Oregon proceeding around out in the wilderness, with no one around, wearing their masks. Which, apropos of almost nothing, reminds me of one of the songs my Dad used to sing to us: