The Oregon Health Authority Is Recommending We All Wear Masks in Restaurants and Bars

Updated: Jul 28

Updated 7.28.21 The Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority recommends universal mask use for all public indoor settings. In responses to a large jump in cases and hospitalizations and new national guidance calling for masking measures to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, the Oregon Health Authority today is recommending universal mask use in public indoor settings throughout the state to protect Oregonians from COVID-19. Chart


“We have an opportunity to make a difference in our county’s case rates right now. But if we don’t act, we can expect an exponential rise in cases, especially in pockets with low vaccinations. This could lead to preventable hospitalizations and even death,” said Public Health Director Jessica Guernsey. “Masking is a step we can all take right now to keep businesses open and move ahead with our plans for the school year. This is the thing that will make a difference.”


County health officials are particularly worried about the Delta variant, which is roughly twice as contagious as earlier strains of the virus and may cause more severe illness. As a whole, the Delta variant comprises about 90 percent of sequenced cases in the United States. The state of Oregon is already at about 80 percent Delta variant of recently sequenced tests.



Fully vaccinated people ― such as those with two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ― appear to be well-protected from severe disease and death with Delta variants. However, people with only one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are not as well-protected. And even fully-vaccinated people can still become mildly ill and transmit the virus to others.


Public Health recommends that even vaccinated people wear masks in indoor spaces when the vaccination status of others is unclear. Currently, in Multnomah County and nationwide, the vast majority of people getting sick, going to the hospital and dying from COVID-19 at this time are unvaccinated.


Public Health encourages businesses to download and post this Health Department sign encouraging mask wearing indoors.


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