Outdoor mask mandate reinstated in Oregon affecting outdoor events at UP

The mandate will begin on Friday, August 27.

By Sadie Wuertz | August 24, 2021 9:19pm
The outdoor mask mandate in Oregon will be reinstated Friday, Aug. 27
Media Credit: Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

Masks and face coverings will be required in most public outdoor settings regardless of vaccination status, including outdoor events that inhibit social distancing Gov. Kate Brown announced Tuesday. The mandate goes into effect Friday, Aug. 27. 

The requirement does not apply to quick outdoor encounters, children under 5 years old, people who are eating, drinking, or sleeping outdoors, or people who are playing sports or performing music or theatre. 

Brown specified that mask requirements for K-12 schools will not be affected by the mandate and will continue to fall under the school mask rule. The mandate does not require masks to be worn for private outdoor gatherings, but with gatherings that involve more than one household, masks are recommended. 

The outdoor mask mandate was put in place in response to the large surge of COVID-19 cases affecting Oregon due to the delta variant. As of Monday, 937 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon, leaving less than 7% of ICU beds statewide available. Most of these patients are unvaccinated.

For UP, the outdoor mask mandate could mean a big change in campus operations. Though the mandate does not apply to athletes playing competitive sports, it will apply to fans. 

Clive's Army in full effect, Aug. 20, after almost two years of not being able to fill the stands.
by Marek Corsello / The Beacon

“Starting this Friday with our doubleheader, when the governor's official order goes into effect, we will be abiding by that order and essentially requiring masks at outdoor events,” Athletics Program Manager of Communications Kyle Garcia said.

The athletics program is still discussing internally about how to enforce the outdoor mask mandate for fans, but all fans will be required to wear masks. As per the order’s specifications, athletes will not be wearing masks. 

“We're making sure that we have our policies up to date and that they are in accordance with the state of Oregon and Multnomah County,” Garcia said. “Just check portlandpilots.com for updates, because we will have more information up later this week for fans.”

Outdoor campus programs and events will also be affected by the mandate, including Riverboat, which is set to take place this Friday, the same day that the mandate will begin. 

“All of the vendors and BonApp workers were already going to be required to wear masks, so the only thing that’s changing is that students are going to be wearing masks as well,” CPB Director Jessica Cramm said. “Our highest priority is to still be doing in-person events for as long as we can. So, masks are going to be required during Riverboat except when eating or drinking.”

Riverboat will be held on the bluff behind the Commons, with the entrance between the Chapel and the Commons.

Sadie Wuertz is the Sports Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at wuertz22@up.edu.