Business guide to OHA’s updated masks rules

What Oregon Businesses Need to Know About OHA’s Updated Face Mask Requirements
By Heather Fossity & Amy Angel
Barran Liebman law firm,

The Oregon Health Authority’s recent guidance details additional mask, face shield, or face covering requirements for covered Oregon businesses. Starting June 24, 2020, certain businesses must require customers and visitors (in addition to employees, contractors, and volunteers, as previously required) to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering, unless an exemption applies or an accommodation is required.

Existing guidance already mandated certain Oregon businesses to require their employees, contractors, and volunteers to wear a face mask, face shield, or face covering including:

– grocery stores,
– fitness-related organizations,
– pharmacies,
– public transit agencies and providers,
– personal services providers,
– restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, wineries, tasting rooms and distilleries,
– retail stores, shopping centers and malls,
– ride sharing services,
– indoor licensed swimming pools, licensed spa pool and sports court operators,
– indoor entertainment facility operators,
– indoor recreational sports operators for specified sports, and
– indoor venue operators.

The updated guidance extends the requirement to wear a mask or face shield to all customers and visitors of the above businesses in Clackamas, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk and Washington counties.

While face mask, face shield, and face covering requirements do not apply to businesses not expressly listed, other businesses should review applicable sector guidance and general guidance for employers for other requirements, recommendations, and best practices.

The face mask, face shield, or face covering requirements do not apply if an accommodation and exemption is required by state and federal disability law, labor laws, public accommodations laws that provide all persons with full and equal access to services, transportation, and facilities open to the public, or Oregon Health Authority public health guidance, if applicable. Specifically, masks, face coverings, or face shields are not required in the following instances:

For employees, contractors and volunteers if/when:
– Eating or drinking;
– At or in a location where the employee is not interacting with the public and six or more feet of distance can be maintained between other employees; or
– An accommodation is legally required.

For customers and visitors if/when:
– Eating or drinking in restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, wineries, tasting rooms, and distilleries;
– Engaging in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face shield or face covering not feasible, such as strenuous physical exercise, singing, or playing an instrument if at least six feet of distance is maintained from others;
– Under 12 years of age (although it is strongly recommended for children between 2 and 12 to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering in grocery stores and pharmacies or where it is likely that physical distancing cannot be maintained and vulnerable people go, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult);
– The customer or visitor has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe when wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering; or
– The customer or visitor has a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a mask, face shield, or face covering.

Covered businesses must provide masks, face shields, or face coverings for employees and post clear signs about the mask, face shield, or face covering requirements. Covered businesses are encouraged, although not required, to provide disposable face coverings for customers and visitors who do not have them, which could prevent having to turn customers away. Businesses are also encouraged to post signs about the requirements in languages commonly spoken by customers and visitors, and educate employees on safely working and communicating with individuals who cannot wear masks, making sure they know that they may need to remove a mask or face covering for individuals to read lips or see facial expressions to communicate.

— For additional information about navigating coronavirus in the workplace, visit Barran Liebman’s COVID-19 resource page.