Benton County lifts face coverings in public indoor settings, masks now optional

Masks are optional effective March 12, 2022
Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Benton County Board of Commissioners, acting in their capacity as the Board of Health, issued Order #D2022-037 today, March 8, 2022. Effective March 12, 2022, masks or face coverings are no longer required to be worn in most public indoor settings. This order brings the County into alignment with the recent statewide update from Governor Brown’s office.

"We want to thank Benton County residents for their vigilance in following COVID-19 precautions,” Benton County Board Chair Nancy Wyse said today. “Although the situation is improving, it is important to recognize that COVID-19 is still present in our community. For that reason, we encourage vulnerable individuals to continue to wear masks in indoor spaces, and encourage each person to make a personal "choice" whether to wear a mask or not. All individual choices are fully supported and respected. By continuing to take precautions as a whole, our community can make forward progress out of this pandemic.”

Masks are still required, by State and Federal mandate, in certain indoor settings such as: healthcare settings; airports and airplanes; and public transportation.

During Tuesday’s Board meeting, County commissioners and leadership heard from Benton County’s public health director, April Holland.

“I want everyone to know that we are not powerless against COVID-19 in an environment without universal masking,” said April Holland, Benton County public health director. “Our collective risk decreases with lower community transmission, like the decrease we are seeing now across Oregon. We have protective vaccines, therapeutic treatments, testing, and a supply of high-quality masks that offer protection to the wearer even when others are not masked. We should also continue to practice other protective measures we have utilized over the last two years like improving ventilation indoors, staying home when sick, and practicing good hand hygiene.”  

Continuing to layer prevention measures such as keeping up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination, hand washing, and staying home when ill are all important measures to reduce the risk of infection. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and provide the best protection against the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 including hospitalization and death. For a list of COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in Benton County visit: Find a COVID-19 Vaccine.

The Board of Commissioners’ order can be read in full below.