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Some C. Oregon shoppers skip wearing masks on first day of renewed statewide mandate

(Update: adding video, comments from business owner and community member)

OHA issues new specifics: What are Central Oregonians doing?

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- If you paid a visit to various stores around Bend on Friday, you might think masks were still optional indoors, as dozens of people were not wearing them. But many were, as the statewide mandate took effect.

Indoor masks are required in public spaces for Oregonians, regardless of vaccination status, under a statewide order from Gov. Kate Brown.

The owner of Outside In in downtown Bend said her customers had been complying with the rule.

"Most people are coming in and preparing to put on a mask, and they're putting it on upon entry." Angela Salido told NewsChannel 21.

"A lot of people have forgotten them, and they're not in the habit yet, so luckily we do have some masks on hand to give them," she said. "And we've had very few people complain about it and walk out because of it."

But, Salido says local businesses -- like her own -- rely on foot traffic.

"I know that there is a point where people might say, 'I don't want to shop I don't want to wear my mask, I'd rather go do something else.' And I just appreciate everyone that does come downtown and shops local." Salido said.

"I know it can be a lot easier to shop at home, and when people make the initiative to come downtown it really does support local families and local businesses -- so I'm very appreciative for that."

Will Harris, born and raised in Bend, was shopping at WinCo Foods without a mask.

He says he doesn't wear one because he has asthma -- and said no one asked him to put one on while shopping.

Harris also said he believes masks should be optional, saying it's personal opinion.

"I feel it's a personal opinion, because it's dependent on how you deal with your health and the people around you." Harris said. "Your family doesn't believe in Covid or any of that sort of way of thinking -- then that's completely on you and your choice of life."

However, Harris says he will wear a mask inside if the business is facing fines.

Businesses can get fined up to $500 per day for not requiring customers to wear a mask and they must post a sign at the entryway, saying that face coverings are required.

Workplaces, businesses, indoor areas open to the public, building lobbies, common or shared spaces, classrooms, elevators, bathrooms, transportation services and other indoor space where people may gather for any purpose are considered an indoor space.

An indoor space does not include a private residence or a private automobile being used for personal use and that is not used for ride sharing."

The newly released Oregon Health Authority regulations show more details about the new indoors spaces requirement - and also show they will be in effect for nearly six months, until Feb. 8, unless revised or dropped before then.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus
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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

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