American state pushes for permanent mask mandate


Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Corwin Trent, assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington, becomes emotional March 12, 2021, after receiving a meritorious advancement to Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John D. Bellino)

As many states lift their mask mandates, Oregon state officials say they want to make their’s “permanent” in the workplace.

The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says it wants to adopt the requirement “as a permanent rule,” although it intends “to repeal the rule when it is no longer necessary to address that pandemic.”

There was no indication of the criteria for determining the mandate “is no longer necessary.”

Officials promise, instead, to “consult with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, and other stakeholders as circumstances change to determine when all or part of the rule can be appropriately repealed.”

The rule is to take effect May 4, 2021, and remain until “revised or repealed.”

It would apply to “all employees” in places covered by the agency’s jurisdiction.

In 105 pages, OSHA requires social distancing, masks are required, regular cleaning and sanitization, ventilation equipment and an “infection control plan.”

Further, infected workers must be isolated, testing is required and employers must accommodate vaccination plans.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported a British epidemiologist forecast that face coverings probably will be needed “for several years.”

Mary Ramsay of Public Health England pointed out that masks and social distancing were becoming accepted and “still allowed the economy to function,” the report said.

“So I think certainly for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are, and the numbers have come down everywhere, that is when we may be able to go very gradually back to a more normal situation,” she said.

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