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House Republican Leader lobbies Governor Brown to rethink 'misguided' mask rules

Representative Christine Drazan sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown, urging her to change the state mask and distancing guidance that requires businesses to check vaccination status to loosen requirements.

Posted: May 20, 2021 5:16 PM
Updated: May 20, 2021 5:17 PM

SALEM, Ore. — House Republican Leader Christine Drazan sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Health Authority director Patrick Allen on Wednesday, urging them to rethink the latest OHA guidance on mask and distancing requirements.

The OHA guidance, released on Tuesday, requires businesses that wish to loosen mask and distancing requirements for fully vaccinated patrons only do so if they can check vaccination status — namely by requesting to see completed vaccination cards or similar proof.

Drazan called the rules "misguided," putting further burdens on businesses and their employees.

"To comply with OHA guidance, businesses will need to train employees to verify personal health records for different vaccines and check the dates those vaccines were administered," Drazan said. "Businesses will incur fines from [OSHA] if their employees get it wrong. Vaccine cards are designed as a personal health record, not a credential."

Drazan said that businesses' only other option is to require all customers to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, which she said contradicted the CDC guidance that prompted this update.

Speaking about the new guidance on Tuesday, state epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger acknowledged that sticking with the previous OHA guidance was an option that many businesses might choose over checking vaccination status.

Like Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod, Drazan pointed to statements from the Biden administration that the federal government will not pursue vaccine verification.

"Oregon should not be at odds with the CDC and White House's recommendations," Drazan said. "This will create conflict between employees and customers, and between businesses and the communities they serve. Furthermore, front-line workers will take the brunt of confrontations. We should not be placing further burdens on workers."

Drazan closed her letter by saying that it is "time to return to normal."

As of Thursday, just under 63 percent of Oregon's adult population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and local rates vary significantly by county. Governor Brown has said that most of Oregon's statewide restrictions will be lifted when the state reaches 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324571

Reported Deaths: 3709
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah52543645
Washington35987280
Marion33757401
Clackamas27506277
Lane24978256
Jackson21483271
Deschutes17521104
Umatilla13107129
Linn1105390
Douglas11044207
Josephine8843175
Yamhill7781102
Klamath669695
Polk644272
Malheur498769
Benton479530
Coos439772
Columbia339039
Jefferson329748
Union287738
Lincoln286830
Wasco250139
Clatsop226026
Crook224939
Tillamook186123
Baker183124
Morrow171221
Curry169217
Hood River167235
Harney90518
Grant8899
Lake7518
Wallowa55812
Gilliam1404
Sherman1333
Wheeler651
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4698504

Reported Deaths: 68767
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles145515526035
Riverside3618524864
San Diego3547324054
San Bernardino3504055545
Orange3179985409
Sacramento1526762142
Santa Clara1418101852
Fresno1383231939
Kern1378841540
Alameda1173871328
San Joaquin990131633
Ventura986241138
Contra Costa96871924
Stanislaus820391262
Tulare74793904
San Mateo52770612
San Francisco52580622
Monterey49872571
Solano44658314
Santa Barbara43571505
Merced40058548
Sonoma39799384
Placer37312370
Imperial34644756
Kings30713293
San Luis Obispo28759319
Madera22239263
Butte22019238
Shasta21684291
Santa Cruz20334214
Yolo19462239
Marin17258242
El Dorado16291132
Sutter13297155
Napa1242695
Yuba945564
Nevada863985
Tehama856088
Humboldt851494
San Benito716170
Mendocino708182
Lassen660127
Tuolumne630193
Lake620295
Amador505559
Glenn411330
Siskiyou410442
Calaveras355570
Del Norte348237
Colusa294418
Inyo171339
Mono15295
Plumas12976
Mariposa106213
Trinity75810
Modoc6288
Sierra1980
Unassigned1430
Alpine1010
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