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Oregon’s Mask Mandate Will End ‘No Later’ Than March 31st As Other States Begin Lifting Mask Rules

Oregon’s Mask Mandate Will End ‘No Later’ Than March 31st As Other States Begin Lifting Mask Rules

Hillstone employees told no masks allowed

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced on Tuesday that Oregon’s indoor mask mandate will end no later than March 31. The mandate could end earlier if hospitalizations drop faster than expected. Oregon was among the last to lift the outdoor mandate, in November, and Brown’s decision came only after public pressure from Democratic leaders.

Tuesday’s decision by Brown comes as the governors of Connecticut and New Jersey said school districts would be able to determine their own masking policies starting February 28th and March 7th, respectively. In Delaware, the governor announced the mask mandate would lift on Friday. The decisions come amid rising political and legal pressure across the country to repeal mask mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions that have been in place since 2020. However, with cases falling, the end of the mandates are in sight for the country at large, depending on hospitalization rates.

California’s indoor mask mandate will expire on February 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said. The order was extended in January, but the amount of Covid-19 cases in the state has fallen by 65% from its Omicron high, officials said. The mandate will stay in place for now in schools, according to Gov. Newsom’s office. In Oregon, current projections show that by the end of March, hospitalizations for COVID-19 will have declined to 400 or fewer, the Oregon Health Authority says. State health officials will weigh lifting the mask mandate earlier than expected if the hospitalizations decline to that level more quickly than expected.

While the Biden administration supports the decisions made by the governors,  it also continues to support the CDC’s recommendation that students and staff wear masks at schools, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “What happened in New Jersey and a couple of other states…is that they pulled back the requirement,” Ms. Psaki said. “They didn’t make it more difficult for schools, school administrators, local officials to keep requirements that they made a determination would keep their school safe,” she explained, a sly reference to Virginia’s new Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who last month signed new legislation blocking local districts from keeping mask rules in place.

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