Some large corporations lift mask mandates in Oregon

"To be able to smile and see people smile, it's nice to be able to see humanity again."

Posted: May 17, 2021 7:52 PM
Updated: May 17, 2021 8:38 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- As many large corporations announce an end to mask mandates at their stores, the rules remain unclear in Oregon.

KEZI checked in at several stores throughout the state to inquire about whether or not fully vaccinated shoppers still need to wear masks. The overwhelming majority told KEZI they don't. That includes both the Walmart and Home Depot on Green Acres Road in Eugene.

Target’s corporate offices announced this morning that customers who are fully vaccinated may shop without a mask. However, at the location on Gateway Street in Springfield, an employee confirmed that customers are still required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status due to the state’s guidelines. That same employee said the policy may be different at other locations around the state.

Many shoppers who said they were fully vaccinated were thrilled about being able to walk around indoors without a mask.

"To be able to smile and see people smile, it's nice to be able to see humanity again," Cindy Downing said.

But others said it’s too soon to lift mandates and said they don’t trust that everyone who’s shopping maskless is fully vaccinated.

"I don't get out that much, but you know, if I'm going into Walmart, I think I'm going to be wearing a mask because I don't know if half of the people in there who aren't wearing masks are fully vaccinated," Rex Meisenheimer said.

Oregon’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces went into effect July 1, 2020, and is still in effect now for those who are not fully vaccinated.

The Oregon Health Authority has yet to release updated guidelines for businesses to follow at this time. For now, a spokesperson referred KEZI to the governor's most recent social media posts about the matter which reads: 

"While @OHAOregon updates guidance, everyone should follow posted mask and physical distancing requirements in businesses this weekend. Thank you for looking out for the health and safety of your fellow Oregonians."

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