May 12, 2021

OHA Now Says Masking Not Required for Some Outdoor Workplaces


By Peter S. Hicks, Shareholder

Effective May 11, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority (“OHA”) has issued revised Reopening Guidance regarding the continued use of masks, face coverings, and face shields. Significantly, this revised Reopening Guidance eliminates the requirements for masks, face coverings, or face shields for outdoor work under certain circumstances. OHA has now indicated masks, face coverings, and face shields are not required if an individual:

  • is outdoors and at a workplace or worksite and is at least six (6) feet of distance from others at all times; or
  • is outdoors and is fully vaccinated.

Masks, face coverings, or face shields remain required for indoor workplaces. Although OHA has indicated these measures are not required in private indoor or outdoor social gatherings if an individual “is fully vaccinated, or is unvaccinated but at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and is with others who are fully vaccinated,” these exceptions to the masking requirements “are not applicable to workplaces.” The only circumstances where employees in indoor workplaces are exempt from wearing masks, face coverings, or face shields remains when the employee is working in a private, individual workspace (think an office with the door closed).

As noted in our prior alert, employers are required to continue providing masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees and post clear signs about mask, face covering, and face shield requirements. At the same time, employers must also provide accommodations for employees, contractors, volunteers, students, customers, and visitors if required by state and federal disability laws, labor laws, state and federal public accommodations laws requiring equal access, and comply with OHA public health guidance. 

Continue to stay tuned. With Governor Brown’s comments earlier this week that she intends to lift most COVID-19 related restrictions when 70% of Oregonians over the age of 16 have been partially vaccinated, and hopes this can occur by June, we expect things will continue to change rapidly. Employers should therefore begin seriously evaluating reopening plans. If you need assistance with masking policies or vaccination incentives or requirements, Jordan Ramis remains ready to help.   

Peter Hicks is an employment and commercial litigation attorney and shareholder at Jordan Ramis PC. He can be reached at (541) 797-2079 or


Tags: Governmental Services

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