Oregon nears threshold to reopen economy: 3.8% away from lifting mask requirements and checking vaccines and county risk levels

A sign language interpreter shares the screen with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown during a news conference on Friday afternoon in which she announced that Oregon is nearing the 70% threshold for COVID-19 vaccines. And as soon as it does, the majority of mandates will be lifted.

ONTARIO — As many entities throughout the county, region and state of Oregon have been setting policies geared around whether people can remove masks or will have to prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to do so, Gov. Kate Brown announced on Friday the end of such restrictions is near.

As of June 3, Oregon had achieved a 66.2% vaccination rate for individuals 18 and older, with 127,308 more people needing to receive a first dose to reach 70% in the state.

After the 70% threshold is met, Oregon will take steps to lift restrictions. Among these are the risk-level framework — including all county based metrics and health and safety restrictions for counties, such as requiring masks, physical distancing and capacity limits, according to Brown’s news conference.

Masks and face coverings will not be required in “almost all settings, with some exceptions following federal guidance, including airports, public transit and health-care settings,” according to Brown.

As masking and social distancing rules lift for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, “vaccine verification will not be necessary.” However, it will be “strongly recommended” that those who are not vaccinated for COVID continue to wear masks and practice other safety measures related to stopping the spread of the virus.

While Oregon Health Authority will have an ongoing leadership role, the focus will shift to pandemic recovery and supporting local public health and health-care providers with resources.

“So, it will remain incredibly important for Oregonians to continue making smart choices. And, to respect the choices of others,” Brown said. “This has really become a tale of two pandemics. If you are vaccinated, then you’re safe, you can carry on safely without wearing a mask and social distancing.”

While schools will be going back to full-time learning settings for kindergarten through 12th grade, guidance will be revised to safely support in-person instruction. Especially since, those 12 and younger are not eligible to be vaccinated, therefor “remain vulnerable to COVID-19.”

For this reason, some health and safety standards for child care providers and youth programs will remain in place.

Out of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, there have been a combined total of 4,021,545 doses administered through June 3, according to OHA.

On June 3, there were 9,587 total doses administered throughout the state, and 38 of those were in Malheur County.

According to information updated on June 1, there have been a 13,130 total vaccine doses have been wasted, spoiled or expired in the state of Oregon.

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