June 29, 2020 2:00 p.m.

Governor Kate Brown has announced that Oregonians statewide will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, starting this Wednesday July 1st.

A release from the Governor’s Office said the guidance applies to businesses and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces. Face covering requirements are already mandated in eight counties.

Brown said “from the beginning of the reopening process, I have said that reopening comes with the risk of seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases beyond our health system’s capacity to test, trace and isolate them”. Brown said over the last month, the disease has “spread at an alarming rate in both urban and rural counties”. She said the upcoming July 4th holiday weekend “is a critical point for Oregonians in this pandemic, and we can all make a difference”.

The release said modeling from the Oregon Health Authority shows that if further action isn’t taken to reduce the spread of the disease, hospitals could be overwhelmed by new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations within weeks.

Brown said “the choices every single one of us make in the coming days matter”.

The release said face coverings that cover your nose and mouth play a critical role in reducing the spread of the disease because droplets from people’s breath can carry the virus to others without people realizing it. Brown said “if we all wear face coverings, practice six feet of physical distancing in public, wash our hands regularly, and stay home when we are sick, then we can avoid the worst-case scenarios that are now playing out in other states”.

Brown said she does not want to have to close down businesses again, like other states are now doing. She said “if you want your local shops and restaurants to stay open, then wear a face covering when going out in public”.

Brown asked residents to keep Fourth of July celebrations small and local. The release said a lot of new COVID-19 cases followed the Memorial Day holiday. She said another spike in cases after the upcoming holiday weekend, “could put Oregon in a dangerous position”.

The release said Oregon Occupational Safety and Health will take the lead, along with other state and local agencies, in enforcing the face covering requirement for all covered Oregon businesses.