Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

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In this photo from the September 21, 2020 file, Vanessa Mendez hugs her son, Evan Seppa, as she prepares to head to Elizabeth Page Elementary School for her first day of kindergarten in Springfield, Oregon. . Even as Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved earlier this month to facilitate the guide to wearing indoor masks for fully vaccinated people, states like Oregon and Washington still maintain certain restrictions. of long-standing coronavirus. Credit: Andy Nelson / The Register-Guard via AP, File

The sand was packed to the brim on a recent sunny day in this exclusive beach town on the Oregon coast, but signs of the state of caution from the pandemic were still everywhere. Almost all visitors to the beach wore masks (those that didn’t look nasty) and lines for a seat at the numerous local cafes and restaurants that meandered along the sidewalk due to rules limiting capacity to 25%.

It was a stark contrast to places like Florida or Texas, where many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted for weeks. But even when the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved in earlier this month to make it easier to guide the use of indoor masks for fully vaccinated people, some blue states like Oregon and Washington still maintain if for a long time restrictions.

After , Democratic Gov. Kate Brown last week lifted the requirement for outdoor masks and put the responsibility on companies to decide whether fully vaccinated patterns should be masked inside.

But the application of business capacity limits, advertising cases of sports students who passed while competing or practicing with a mask and a widespread closure of covered dining halls earlier this month continue to provoke resentment among those who consider the rules of Brown go too far as the rest of the US returns to normal.

In Oregon, the decline has been particularly strong in rural areas — which belongs to much of the state outside of Portland — and has included an effort by at least one county to become a “vaccine sanctuary” where the people should not mask themselves regardless of their vaccine status.

Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

In this April 11, 2021 archive photo, masked residents walk downtown Lake Oswego, Oregon. Although the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved earlier this month to facilitate the guide to using a full face mask for people who are fully vaccinated, according to states like Oregon and Washington, they still maintain certain coronavirus restrictions. long term Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus, File

“We’re so done with this,” said Tootie Smith, chair of the Clackamas County Board of Supervisors and a former Republican representative in the Oregon State House. “There’s a huge frustration that people have.”

Smith made national news when he said on Twitter that he would host a big Thanksgiving dinner despite the capacity rules for indoor meetings that were there back then, and now he says he’s surprised when he travels outside of Oregon and sees such as living with fewer COVID-19 public restrictions.

Texas Rangers fans recently returned to Globe Life Field, which was open to 100% capacity, numerous college students crowded Florida beaches for spring break and Walt Disney World has reopened its doors.

“Everything was open. People were happy because they had the freedom to go out to restaurants (without a mask),” said Smith, who cited Florida, South Dakota and Idaho as examples. “Some of the businesses wanted you to wear a mask. And you could have been forced at certain points inside, but the attitude was different. You weren’t ashamed that you didn’t wear a mask.”

Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

A woman wearing a face mask carries groceries in her car after shopping at a Zupan grocery store in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, May 21, 2021. As the federal government and many states facilitate rules on use of masks and business employment, some blue states like Oregon and Washington continue to maintain some coronavirus restrictions for a long time. Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus

Those who support the more prudent approach in the Northwest, however, point out that the region has had lower infection rates throughout the pandemic, probably due to stricter rules over the past 14 months.

“The advantage of 50 different states is that you get a natural experience of what happens when states take a different approach,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, the health officer in Multnomah County, the most populous county in the world. state and location of Portland.

“I’ve seen some (states) have had several hikes or rejected certain restrictions. I think for the most part Oregon got it right,” Vines said. “While it may seem like there is no problem, it is these same restrictions that are preventing the problem.”

In Oregon and Washington, state health authorities have recently lifted requirements to wear masks outside, but they mostly maintain indoor capacity restrictions, probably until the end of June.

Oregon, among the blue states, slows down the reduction of COVID restrictions

This Thursday, May 28, 2020, the photo in the file shows Haystack Rock being seen in the distance from a balcony of The Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach, Oregon, during the coronavirus outbreak. The sand was packed to the brim on a recent sunny day in this exclusive beach town on the Oregon coast, but signs of the state of caution from the pandemic were still everywhere. It was a stark contrast to places like Florida or Texas, where many COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted for weeks. Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus, archive

Most Oregon counties still have limits on business capacity, and as of this week, companies that want to allow customers to enter their stores without a mask must ask the customer to prove that it has been completely vaccinated. This week, state health officials said young athletes should no longer wear masks while competing outdoors, but students still need to mask while practicing indoor contact sports, such as basketball and wrestling.

And earlier this month, state workforce safety regulators indefinitely issued a rule that required employees to use at all times, regardless of their state of inoculation.

When the state increased the fourth rise in COVID-19 this month, Brown announced a reopening plan: restrictions on state capacity and masking will be removed when 70% of Oregon residents age 16 or older have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

A sign at a spa and beauty salon on Lake Oswego, Oregon, on Friday, May 21, 2021, indicates that only customers who can prove they are fully vaccinated can enter without masks. As the federal government and many states facilitate rules on mask use and business employment, some blue states like Oregon and Washington continue to maintain some long-standing coronavirus restrictions. Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus

Currently, more than half of Oregon’s eligible population has received a first vaccine, and health officials say they believe the state will meet the governor’s vaccination goal by the end of June, although many counties are lagging behind.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made a similar reopening announcement, saying his state is on track to reopen completely on June 30, and that it could reopen completely sooner even though 70% or more of residents 16 years of age or older have obtained at least one dose of vaccine by then.

It’s time to start “the next chapter of post-pandemic life,” Brown said, something Republicans have been calling for since last year, from the reopening of the economy and the complete lifting of mask mandates to to students returning to full-time face-to-face learning.

“What if we have another virus?” Smith said. “We can’t keep closing our society for months,”

  • Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

    A poster reminds customers to wear their masks to a bakery on Lake Oswego, Oregon, on Friday, May 21, 2021. As the federal government and many states facilitate rules on the use of masks and business occupation , some blue states like Oregon and Washington still maintain some long-standing coronavirus restrictions. Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus

  • Oregon, among the blue states, is slowing down the reduction of COVID restrictions

    Two women wearing masks are expected to sit in a restaurant on Lake Oswego, Oregon, on Friday, May 21, 2021. As the federal government and many states facilitate rules on the use of masks and business employment, some blue states like Oregon and Washington still maintain some long-standing coronavirus restrictions. Credit: AP Photo / Gillian Flaccus

But even once restrictions are removed in Oregon, not everyone can choose to return to a pre-coronavirus life.

“We all have types of risk tolerance,” Vines said. “I think for people who are really intolerant of risk they can choose to continue masking and I think that’s fine.”


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