Updated OHA Guidance on Face Coverings/Masks and Face Shields

On October 19, 2020, as authorized by Executive Order 20-27, the Oregon Health Authority issued updated guidance for wearing masks, face coverings or face shields. The new guidance recommends:

  • Wearing face coverings or masks instead of face shields because face shields are not as effective at limiting the release of aerosols that can go around the shield.
  • Limiting use of face shields without a mask to circumstances when:
    • A person has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering.
    • People need to see mouth and tongue motions in order to communicate (e.g., for communicating with children in certain developmental stages or people with hearing impairments).
    • An individual is speaking to an audience for a short period of time and clear communication is otherwise not possible.

For public and private workplaces, the guidance states that:

Masks, face coverings or face shields are required at all times for employees, contractors and volunteers in public and private workplaces, including hallways, bathrooms, classrooms, elevators, lobbies, break rooms, meeting rooms and other common and shared spaces, unless employees, contractors or volunteers are at a private, individual workspace not shared with other people.

Businesses and persons responsible for indoor or outdoor spaces open to the public, and persons responsible for public and private workplaces must:

  • Require employees, contractors, volunteers, students, customers and visitors to wear a mask, face covering or face shield, except as follows:
  • Employees, contractors and volunteers:
    • Masks, face coverings or face shields are strongly recommended in all indoor work spaces, but not required when at or in a location where the employee, contractor or volunteer does not have a job that requires interacting with the public or with other employees, such as a large warehouse and at least six (6) feet of distance can be maintained between other people.
    • When six (6) feet of distance cannot be maintained, such as in a restroom or break room, masks, face coverings or face shields are required.
    • Masks, face coverings or face shields are not required while eating or drinking.
    • Masks, face coverings or face shields are not required when engaged in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face covering or face shield not feasible, such as when swimming.
  • Provide, at no cost, face coverings for customers and visitors who do not have one.
  • Post signs about the mask, face covering or face shield requirement in languages that are commonly spoken by customers, visitors and students.
  • Educate employees:
    • On how to safely work and communicate with people who cannot wear masks, face coverings or face shields.
    • That they may need to replace a mask or face covering with a transparent cover such as a face shield while communicating with an individual who needs to read lips or see facial expressions to communicate.
  • Provide accommodations if such accommodations are required by state and federal laws.

The new guidance also includes directions for the general public and children under 12.

The guidance is here:  https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2288K.pdf

Executive Order 20-27 is here: https://www.oregon.gov/gov/admin/Pages/eo_20-27.aspx

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