Will be working with OSHA, other agencies to educate, inform customers
(Update: Adding video)
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown spoke with NewsChannel 21 on Monday afternoon about her announcement earlier in the day expanding a face covering mandate statewide, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases:
Here's a full transcript of that conversation:
1. How will businesses enforce this? Will they have to throw a customer out?
Gov. Brown: My agencies stand ready to enforce this face-covering policy. It’s critically important to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The case numbers we are seeing right now are alarming, and we absolutely have to stop the spread of the disease, and wearing face coverings is a good way to prevent transmission. So we will be working with our state agencies, including OSHA, to educate and inform customers.
And this is going to be a culture change for businesses across the state, but I’m confident they have the wherewithal to make it happen.
We know that businesses out there have already been able to do it, Costco being a great example. So we are asking them to educate and inform customers, and then we will move to the next step, which is enforcement.
2. Would anyone have to throw a customer out or ask someone to leave for not complying with that?
Gov. Brown: Look, we’re going to start with education and information, letting Oregonians know that face coverings can help prevent the transmission of the disease.
When you talk, air comes out of your mouth, and there’s droplets of moisture in that air. You can unknowingly spread COVID-19. Oregonians don’t want to do that to their friends, their family, and their neighbors.
We’re ordering everyone to wear face coverings when they go out in public to help prevent transmission. We know that the CDC and scientists from John Hopkins and Stanford are saying that this will help prevent the transmission. So lets make it happen in Oregon -- we can do this.
3. What will the penalty be for someone refusing to wear a mask? Jail? A fine? How much?
Gov. Brown: Look, we have the ability to enforce these executive orders, but as I said earlier, our first approach is going to be to educate and inform consumers. I think it’s pretty straightforward.
It’s absolutely a culture change. We have to take this seriously across the entire state, and our agencies will be working with businesses to make sure that their customers, their clients, their patients are in compliance with this order.
Look, I don’t want to shut down our bars, our restaurants, our bookstores, our breweries. We have to have compliance here, if we are going to stop the spread of the disease. So, we can do this. This is Oregon!
4. What have you heard from the other eight counties doing it? Any issues?
Look, my sense is that there’s really good compliance with the counties that have already had the face-covering order in place.
We know that we have higher density in these communities, and therefore, much more likely that the disease can be spread easier. But we are seeing outbreaks in rural Oregon, we are seeing outbreaks in urban Oregon, we are seeing outbreaks all over the state -- and wearing a face covering is a simple, yet effective tool to slow the transmission of the disease.
I know it’s really up to each and every one of us. Your actions can make this worse, or they can make this better. Its truly in your hands.
5. Can you quantify how much impact this mask requirement will have on slowing the spread of the virus? 30%? 50%?
Gov. Brown: Here’s what I do know. I know that scientists that have those calculations, physicians and scientists have made those calculations. But here’s what I know, and that is that by wearing a face-covering when you’re out in public in indoor public spaces, whether it’s a lobby, a reception room, a restroom, a kitchen area, you are less likely to transmit the COVID-19 disease.
And we know that a huge portion of folks that get this disease don’t have symptoms. So it’s really a challenge for us, so the best thing that we can do is be kind, be smart, be thoughtful, be considerate of your neighbors and your community members.
We know that the most challenging impacts are on our most vulnerable communities -- our communities of color, our African American neighbors and friends, our Latinx neighbors and friends, our Pacific Islander community members, and of course our elderly family and friends are also very much at risk, and folks with underlying health conditions.
We can protect them and prevent the spread of the disease by wearing a face covering. It’s as simple as that.
6. Any other ways that we’re going to be able to enforce this? Any reparations for people not complying?
Gov. Brown: Great question. Look, we’re going to work hard to make sure that our small businesses that have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 closures have access to personal protection equipment. So we are getting those supplies out to communities around the state.
But Oregonians can easily make a fast face-covering out of a T-shirt, a bandanna. And I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had neighbors make me great face coverings, including one with the State of Oregon seal on it.
So please wear your face coverings -- be kind, be smart, and be thoughtful. Happy Fourth of July! Celebrate local! Make it a barbecue with only your household members, just a few family members! Keep it small. Keep it local. Be safe.