People of color exempt from mandatory mask ordinance in Lincoln County

Jun 24 2020, 11:19 am

Wednesday marks the beginning of the recently announced mandatory face-coverings ordinance sent down by Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

The directive mandates that all people in Multnomah, Clackamas, Lincoln, Hood River, Polk, and Washington counties must wear a mask or covering when attending any public indoor space, or outdoor public space in which you will be within six feet of someone else not a part of your household.

However, Lincoln County has updated its list of exceptions to include any person of color “who [has] heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment.”

People with complications to medical and health problems are also exempt along with those with disabilities that prevent the safe wearing of a face covering. Children under 12 are suggested to wear masks but are not required to do so.

Lincoln County, whose population is 89.7% white, according to the latest data estimations by the US Census, added people of color as an exception in an attempt to avoid situations where a member of the Black community may see heightened levels of harassment based on their face being covered.

This exemption was published on the Lincoln County Health and Services website, but the latest version of the order from Oregon Health Authority does not include mention of people of color.