Guidance for Face Coverings
Masking optional as of March 12, 2022
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has announced that the rule requiring masks to be worn in all indoor public places will be lifted, making masking optional in most circumstances in Oregon beginning on March 12, 2022. The Benton County Board of Commissioners, in their capacity as the Board of Health, has passed Order #D2022-037, which removed the County’s masking requirement to keep Benton County in alignment with the OHA’s guidance.
The decision was made to allow individual people and organizations to make their own decisions on what level of precautions they should follow. Oregon is currently in a place where many of our community members are strongly protected from COVID-19. Most adults are vaccinated, and many have received their booster dose. Additionally, over the last few weeks a large number of people have recovered from COVID-19, granting further protection and lowering the relative community risk, all while case counts and hospitalizations have rapidly fallen to pre-omicron levels. Finally, COVID-19 treatments such as antivirals and monoclonal antibody treatments are becoming more available in our community.
Masking is still required in some situations, such as healthcare settings or when required by a business. For individuals considered at high-risk for complications from COVID-19, it is still recommended that you continue to wear a well fitted, high filtration mask (like an N95) in all public, indoor settings. The general public is encouraged to assess their personal risk based on their individual, household, and professional circumstances as well as the level of COVID-19 transmission in the County, and to take precautions they feel are necessary to remain safe.
For more information, please review these FAQs from the OHA.
For more information on how to assess your risk and choose your COVID-19 precautions, check here.
The right mask for the job
Early on in the pandemic, health officials requested the public not use N95 respirators and medical grade masks in order to keep a supply available for healthcare workers. Since then, the national supply has been adequately increased and new, more transmissible variants like omicron are making it more important to wear a mask with a higher level of protection. The CDC now recommends wearing the most protective mask you will be able to wear consistently, without adjusting or removing the mask.
For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the different kinds of masks, the best way to wear a mask, and more please visit: Types of Masks and Respirators.