Oregon — The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration will take the lead on enforcing the mask mandate in businesses and workplaces throughout the state of Oregon.
“OSHA’s role in this concerns workplaces, businesses, and worker health and safety so that’s our jurisdiction,” Aaron Corvin, public information officer for Oregon OSHA, said.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced on Monday that she would be requiring all counties in Oregon to wear a face mask in businesses and indoor public spaces due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.
“The bottom line Is when you have guests or visitors who are entering a public establishment, for example, a grocery store, the idea about having facial coverings is that folks can be a potential source of infection with respect to workers,” Corvin said.
“It’s not enough to simply post a sign at your business saying ‘these are the face mask requirements’. Our expectation is for the business representative to engage with visitors, guests, and customers,” Corvin said.
He said as a suggestion, businesses should consider keeping a supply of non-expensive masks to hand out to guests who may not have one.
“If the person is not wearing a face-covering upon entering the establishment then the expectation is that the business representative would politely remind the person of the requirements,” Corvin said.
Corvin explained if someone noticed that a business is not enforcing the mask mandate as it should be, they are allowed to ask the business and are encouraged to file a complaint with Oregon OSHA.
“When we receive complaints, really what’s likely is we’re going to engage with the employer and that can be a phone call, that can be an email, where we essentially ask the employer what they’re doing to address allegations,” Corvin said.
Corvin said once OSHA makes contact with the employer, a lot of the time that is enough to move on and clarify responsibilities.
“If it gets to the point where the response from the employer does not appear to be credible, then certainly it can get to the point of the inspection,” he said. “When we’re talking about an inspection, we don’t give advance notice of the inspection, we don’t give warnings. If we do open an inspection, if we do identify violations, then we issue citations.”
He said as of right now, it is not law enforcement’s job to make sure the mandate is being followed unless someone is refusing and a situation gets out of control.
“If it got to the point where a person refused to wear a facial covering and refused to leave the establishment because they were not following the requirements, our expectation is that the businesses establishment would handle it the way they handle anything amounting to trespassing,” Corvin said.
At that point, Corvin said local law enforcement could be contacted to handle this situation, just as they would prior to the mask mandate.
He said Oregon OSHA hopes it does not have to escalate to this point, and they just want to make sure workplaces and the people visiting are staying as safe as possible.
“This is really about protecting people’s health and their safety and we’re just urging folks to do the right thing and follow the requirements,” Corvin said.