MEDFORD, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown's announcement on Monday that face coverings will be required statewide for indoor public spaces largely represents a clear mandate, but the areas of ambiguity have already prompted different responses from local fitness studios.
Under the existing mask guidelines, "fitness-related organizations" are covered by the mask requirement. However, the guidance also provides an exception for certain circumstances, such as strenuous physical exercise.
"Masks, face shields or face coverings are not required when at a business and engaged in an activity that makes wearing a mask, face shield or face covering not feasible, such as strenuous physical exercise, performers singing or playing an instrument if at least six (6) feet of distance is maintained from others," the Oregon Health Authority guidelines state.
For Orangetheory Fitness in Medford, the new policy is based on the letter of those requirements — the gym is requiring face coverings when people enter and exit the studio, but not while exercising.
Superior Athletic Club came to a different conclusion, posted on Facebook Tuesday morning.
"The governor wants everyone to wear a mask effective July 1 upon entering and exiting the facility," the club management said. "I am not placing my staff or myself in the middle of a war between those who choose to wear a mask and those who choose not to wear a mask just because a politician makes a statement. We will not be the mask police. I may need bail money :)"
According to Governor Brown's earlier statements, the Oregon Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be leading enforcement of the new statewide mask requirements. NewsWatch 12 is still working to get more information from the agency on how this will be handled.
It's unclear how zealously the mask requirement will be enforced at fitness studios, when the guidelines include an exception for exercise.
NewsWatch 12 is contacting more local fitness studios throughout the day to gauge the response to face covering requirements.