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Oregon will lift workplace mask, distancing rules when state hits COVID vaccination target

Oregon’s workplace safety agency said it will lift face covering and distancing rules for businesses and other institutions when 70% of Oregon adults are at least partially vaccinated.

That means most employees in public workplaces, such as stores, and private ones, such as offices and factories, could take off their masks and work in close quarters — assuming employers don’t maintain their own mask or distancing rules.

The announcement aligns Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division with Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement Friday that she would lift all occupancy limits and masking requirements in most public places once the state hits the 70% threshold. Exceptions would include health care facilities, airports and public transportation, and the state has not decided on rules for K-12 schools.

If present vaccination rates continue, Oregon could hit its target as soon as the end of the month.

The agency also said it might repeal other coronavirus-era workplace rules, but a spokesman said it doesn’t plan to end any mandates until the state hits its vaccination target. That would include the requirement that businesses verify vaccination status before allowing customers and staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to take off their masks.