Coronavirus

Oregon to start mask mandate for public outdoor settings

McMinnville, Oregon, vendors and farmers provide food during one of the many outdoor wine tastings over the course of a three-day conference on July 28, 2012. Winemakers from around the world gathered for the 26th Annual International Pinot Noir Conference. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

SALEM, Ore. — People in Oregon, regardless of vaccination status, will once again be required wear masks in most public outdoor settings — including large outdoor events where physical distancing is not possible — beginning on Friday.

The outdoor mask mandate, which was announced Tuesday by Gov. Kate Brown, is part of a growing list of statewide measures implemented in Oregon in an attempt to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19. There was already an indoor mask mandate.

Over the past month coronavirus cases, fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, have overwhelmed hospitals in the Pacific Northwest state.

Health officials say part of the reasoning for the new mandate is because they are seeing instances where cases are clustering around outdoor events, such as music festivals.

On Monday there were just 47 adult intensive care unit beds available in the state, with 937 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. Currently more than 90% of the state’s ICU and hospital beds are full.

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