Gov. Kate Brown announced a new mandate Monday to require state residents to wear face coverings in indoor public places. (Jonathan House/Pamplin Media)

SALEM – Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday that state residents will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public places beginning Wednesday in response to the Covid virus outbreak.

The announcement imposes a restriction that until this week had been required in only seven counties in western Oregon. Malheur County residents face the new requirement as the community experiences a surge in Covid infections.

 “Over the last month, we have seen the disease spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties. The upcoming July 4th holiday weekend is a critical point for Oregon in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference," Brown said in her announcement. "Modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if we don’t take further action to reduce the spread of the disease, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks.”

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) will lead the effort in enforcing the face covering requirement.

Employees of certain businesses in Malheur County already are required to wear masks while on duty. They range from grocery stores to restaurants and bars.

“I do not want to have to close down businesses again like other states are now doing. If you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when out in public,” Brown said.

This story will be updated.

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