As mask mandates end for some, Oregon bucks trend and considers making them permanent

Coronavirus

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — States around the country are lifting COVID-19 restrictions. But Oregon is poised to go the opposite direction, and many residents are fuming about it.

A top health official is considering indefinitely extending rules requiring masks and social distancing in all workplaces in the state.

The proposal would keep the rules in place until they’re “no longer necessary.” The administrator of Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health department says the “permanent” rules are needed because of a technicality in state law that allows the current restrictions to expire.

BERLIN, GERMANY – JANUARY 26: City workers distribute medical face masks at the Berlin Mitte district administrative building during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on January 26, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. Elderly, disabled and other needy groups are allowed to collect five free face masks per week at locations across the city. Authorities have extended the current hard lockdown into February as daily COVID-19 infection rates and deaths are beginning to come down but remain high. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

But the idea has prompted a flood of angry responses, with many residents calling it vast government overreach.

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