Mask up, Malheur County. State issues new requirements for employers

Masks are cropping up in all prints and styles as the community opens. (The Enterprise/File photo)

Those people serving you coffee, stacking apples at the grocer or finding that odd plumbing fixture at the hardware store all will have to be do so behind masks under state rules issued last Friday.

The new guidance from the Oregon Health Authority said certain businesses must require employees and contractors to wear face covering.

A “face covering” is defined as a cloth or paper mask that covers the nose and mouth.

The new rule applies to all retail stores, grocers, and restaurants and bars. The coverings are also mandatory for employees at pharmacies, fitness outlets and for personal service providers such as hairdressers and barbers.

Those providing public transit must wear the coverings and so must passengers.

The state is requiring employers to provide the coverings and leaving it up to businesses whether to require customers to wear them as well. Any business requiring the coverings is required to post its policy.

In devising such a customer policy, the state guidance said, businesses should be aware that requiring masks “affects people differently, including people of color who may have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.”

The state said it “strongly” recommended that people wear masks “at all times in settings like grocery stores or pharmacies where it is likely that physical distancing of at least six feet” can’t be maintained.


Need a mask? Local crafters and businesses are ready to cover you up