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Gov. Brown Says Fully Vaccinated Oregonians (Mostly) Do Not Need To Wear Masks

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to reporters in her ceremonial office at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks to reporters in her ceremonial office at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced on Thursday she would immediately have the state follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on mask requirements.

Prior to the announcement, the CDC issued new guidance stating that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume indoor and outdoor activities without masks or distancing, including large gatherings.

“Oregon will be following this guidance, which only applies to fully vaccinated individuals,” Brown said in a recorded statement. “Immunocompromised people should continue to follow the recommendations of their health care provider.”

All people will still be required to wear masks on public transportation, inside airports and while in health care settings, according to the latest CDC guidance.

“Oregonians now have a choice on how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19,” Brown said. “Either get vaccinated or continue wearing a mask and following physical distancing requirements.”

Brown said youths and teachers in schools will still be required to wear masks for this school year. The governor also said businesses can continue to enforce mask requirements for the time being if they do not want to verify the vaccination status of customers. Oregon is expected to issue more specific guidance in the coming days.

The governor described vaccines as the “fastest way to get back to doing the things we all love.”

Oregon has vaccinated around half its population, with more than 2 million people already receiving at least one dose of vaccine. The state also began vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Thursday, following federal guidance.

“If you have questions about vaccines, that’s totally normal,” Brown said. “Call your health care provider to get your questions answered, or visit covidvaccine.oregon.gov for great resources.”

This is a developing story. Watch for updates.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Ryan Haas has been with Oregon Public Broadcasting since 2013. His work has won numerous awards, including two National Magazine Award nominations for the podcast "Bundyville." Prior to working at OPB, Haas worked at newspapers in Illinois, Florida, Oregon and the Caribbean.