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Masks are required indoor statewide.
People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from a business or public space if they cannot wear a mask.
press release on indoor mask requirements.
Oregon Health Authority webpage on
Oregon mask requirements. OHA's
frequently asked questions on mask requirements.
Oregon Health Authority masking rules:
333-019-1015 Masking Requirements in Schools
333-019-1025 Masking Requirements for Indoor Spaces
Effective August 13, 2021, Governor Brown announced that masks are required indoors where COVID-19 spreads more easily in order to control the spread of the Delta variant.
Employees with a disability or a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering should inform their employer that they cannot safely wear a face covering.
Oregon employers have a duty to respond to a request for a reasonable accommodation for a disability or medical condition in a meaningful, interactive way. While an employer may require documentation of the disability or medical condition, an interactive process could be as simple as a productive conversation to identify what changes would allow the employee to keep working. Unless it creates an undue hardship, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a known disability or medical condition.
Regarding a continued policy requiring face coverings, a number of accommodations might permit an employee to continue to do their job. Reasonable accommodations must be specifically tailored to the essential functions of the job and the accommodation needs of the employee.
Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
Employees (or even applicants) who are denied a request for reasonable accommodation should contact BOLI’s Civil Rights Division at 971-673-0764; 711 (TTY) or
Employers with questions about their obligations to accommodate a disability should contact BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers program at 971-361-8400; 711 (TTY) or
In order to control the spread of the Delta variant, Governor Brown announced that masks are required indoors where COVID-19 spreads more easily, effective August 13, 2021. Governor Brown subsequently announced that masks would be required outdoors as well beginning August 27, 2021.
Individuals who have a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a mask, face covering or face shield can request an accommodation to enable full and equal access to services, transportation and facilities open to the public.
Accommodations in a public setting are known as modifications. Modifications could include providing goods and services at the door, sidewalk or curb; providing home delivery; or relocating activities to accessible locations.
Where a business, employer or faith institution continues a policy of requiring face coverings, modifications to the policy could include:
Best practices for enforcing the mask, face shield, and face covering requirements include:
Educating employees on barriers to wearing face coverings for some individuals. This education should include
disability etiquette, which includes engaging respectfully and in a non-confrontational manner. Disability etiquette training is offered by the
NW ADA Center.
Posting prominent signage visible prior to entry letting everyone know about the requirement. OHA’s
sample signage is available online and highlights that accommodations for people with a disability or medical condition are available.
Provide signage and information in languages that customers and visitors use, and in large print format.
Businesses should post their phone number to alert the public about the best person to call to discuss a reasonable accommodation.
Communicate your commitment to provide accommodations through social media, email lists, and your website.
Assigning staff to the entryway to help with any needed arrangements. All employees should know who to contact when someone has an accommodation need. Someone responsible for responding to accommodation issues should be available at all times that the business is open.
If someone indicates that they cannot safely wear a mask, face shield or face covering, a business should NOT ask questions or request documentation of the disability or medical condition. The only question a business may ask is whether someone has a disability or medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a mask, face shield or face covering.
Instead, engage the person in a discussion about how the business might accommodate their needs while protecting the health and safety of other customers and employees. Options could include any of the sample modifications listed above.
If an individual indicates that they do not have a relevant medical condition or disability (or refuses to answer) but refuses to wear a mask, face shield or face covering in accordance with the organization's policy they may be politely told that the organization cannot serve them and that they need to leave the premises. Under no circumstances should the business, organization or their representative attempt to physically block an individual from entering or physically remove an individual from the premises. If an individual refuses to leave, the organization should follow whatever procedures would normally be used if an individual refuses to leave the establishment when asked to do so.
Civil Rights Division responds to reports of businesses or organizations that will not offer reasonable, alternative means to access services for people with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from safely wearing a mask, face shield or face covering.
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