Starting Friday, August 13, all people in Multnomah County will be required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. The mask will be compulsory, regardless of the vaccination status, for all people 5 years of age and over (2 years and over if tolerated).
President Deborah Kafoury issued an executive order that legally requires individuals and businesses to comply with the county-wide rule. The move comes after COVID-19 cases have increased locally, straining health systems that serve the metro area and many outlying communities. The warrant signals a new determination by county leaders to act now to keep hospitals, businesses and schools open.
The rule excludes people who actively eat and drink in food establishments. However, Public Health supports any additional measures that private companies choose to take to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Multnomah County Inner Face Covering Ordinance?
The Countywide Indoor Face Covering Order is Multnomah County’s “mask mandate”. This is a new law that requires the use of face coverings or masks in most interior spaces, such as grocery stores, restaurants, theaters and places of worship. Starting Friday, August 13, all people in Multnomah County will be required to wear a mask indoors. Masks will be mandatory, regardless of vaccination status, for all people 5 years and older (although health authorities encourage the use of masks for children 2 years and older if tolerated).
2. Why is Multnomah County now enforcing a mask warrant?
The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 has caused an increase in the number of new cases and hospitalizations. We have two important tools against this virus and its variants: vaccines and masks. And we will use the masks until more people are vaccinated. A mask warrant saves us time to protect more people with vaccines.
3. Governor Kate Brown recently announced a statewide mask mandate. How will the two mandates work together?
Details of the governor’s decree are still being finalized and are expected to be released by Friday, August 13, 2021. We will provide updates to the community as soon as the decree is finalized. The wording of the Multnomah County Executive Rule allows our term to be canceled if there is a comparable, equal, or more restrictive state term.
4. I am vaccinated. Why do I need to use a mask or a face cover?
Although vaccinated individuals have some protection against serious illnesses due to COVID-19, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been shown to infect vaccinated individuals who can potentially transmit the virus to other individuals.
5. I am not vaccinated. Why should I get the vaccine if I always have to wear a mask or face cover?
All of the available COVID-19 vaccines make it less likely that you will be infected. And if you are infected, being vaccinated makes it much less likely that you will get seriously ill.
6. When are masks or face coverings needed?
Face coverings are required in most interior spaces. Indoor spaces include any place members of the public may enter, rent, or use, including, but not limited to, grocery stores, indoor event venues, restaurants, theaters, and places of worship.
7. Are there any exceptions for who should wear a mask or face cover?
Yes. Children under 5 do not have to wear a mask in indoor spaces but should start wearing a mask at the age of 5. Also, if you have a health condition or disability and have requested an appropriate accommodation, you are not required to wear a mask.
8. Are there any exceptions when it comes to wearing a face cover / mask?
Yes. You are not required to wear a mask when swimming or showering, to receive personal care for a part of your face that the mask covers, to eat or drink, to train as an athlete when the Wearing a mask would be dangerous, when removal of the mask is required for visual comparison, or in a single office with floor-to-ceiling walls and a closed door.
Also, if you sleep in a dorm-style space with beds 6 feet apart, we don’t require you to wear a mask or face cover while you sleep.
Other exceptions are listed in the Mandate for Inside Face Coverage.
9. What types of masks or face coverings are acceptable?
For the purposes of this new law, masks include fabric face covers that fit snugly around the nose and mouth in an effort to reduce the spread of germs, as well as surgical masks and N95 respirators. The Oregon Health Authority recommends wearing a face shield or mask instead of a face shield, except in limited situations where a face shield itself is appropriate, such as talking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, who has need to lip read to communicate. We encourage people to continue to save medical grade masks for healthcare professionals who need them most. Fabric face covers are effective for most non-medical uses, and they are reusable and washable.
10. How is the new law applied?
The Countywide Indoor Face Covering Order is a complaints law. This means that enforcement activities usually take place as a result of a complaint from a member of the public, which may include employees of a company that may not be in compliance. Failure to comply with the law can result in:
11. How does the complaints process work?
If you see a possible violation of the law, you can report it to Multnomah County for investigation and action. Email MaskCompliance@multco.us or contact us by phone at 503-988-8698 to submit a complaint.
Please include the date, company name and address, company phone number (if available) and a brief description of your complaint with examples of what you observed in your submission.
All reports of countywide Inner Face Covering Ordinance violations are common knowledge, so any information we receive may be publicly disclosed.
Complaints must indicate a violation of the county’s interior face covering order. Vague language that lacks specific details about potential violations will not be prosecuted.
If you would like to receive information on the status of your complaint, please leave your name and contact details.
12. Can I file a complaint against a person who refuses to wear a mask in an indoor public space?
Multnomah County encourages the public to file complaints against companies that do not enforce the mask warrant. Complaints can also be filed against individuals. However, Multnomah County cannot step in and respond to complaints in situations surrounding an individual’s use of a mask or face covering. No fines will be imposed on those who do not comply with the law. Multnomah County does not encourage individuals to monitor other individuals.
13. As a business owner or operator, what must I do to be in compliance with the law?
As a business owner or operator, you are subject to the County-wide Interior Face Covering Ordinance and it is your responsibility to ensure that your workplace complies with the interior face shield mandate. COVID-19.
You are required to:
Enforce this mandate by ensuring that all employees, contractors, volunteers, students, clients and all other visitors wear face coverings, unless an exception applies.
Provide face coverings for employees.
Provide appropriate accommodations for employees, contractors, students, clients and visitors if such accommodations are required by:
State and federal disability laws, if applicable, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
State or federal labor laws, public housing laws or any other applicable law.
Oregon Health Authority (OHA) public health guidelines, if applicable.
Display posters for the public regarding this face covering mandate.
On how to work and communicate safely with people who cannot wear face coverings.
On how to provide appropriate accommodations to other employees, contractors, students, customers and visitors if they require such accommodations.
As a business owner or operator, you are also required to provide face coverings to customers and visitors who do not have one, but this law does not require you to do so.
14. When will the mask’s mandate end?
The mask’s mandate is expected to remain in place until January 2022. That schedule could change based on disease trends and vaccination rates.