Screenshot from Gov. Kate Brown's May 13 press video

Mask Off

Gov. Kate Brown announces Oregon will follow CDC rules on masks

A few hours after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced the CDC’s new regulations on masks, a maskless Gov. Kate Brown issued Oregon’s response. If you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask or practice social distance in most places, she says in a May 13 video.

Two days earlier, Brown announced how many Oregonians would need to be vaccinated to start re-opening. Today’s announcement is 11 months after she first mandated that Oregonians wear masks while indoors.

The Associated Press first reported that the CDC was recommending no mask early morning on May 13. According to their website, the agency says once you’re fully vaccinated (two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson and two weeks after the second shot of either Moderna or Pfizer), you can partake in activities like getting a haircut, dine indoors with people from other households and even attend an outdoor event like a sports event or a live performance.


In an address from the Rose Garden, Biden said the CDC’s new recommendation marked a “great day for America in our long battle with the coronavirus.” Later in the speech, he reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated, saying “it’s vax’ed or masked.”

Brown says Oregon will follow some of the CDC’s exceptions, such as public transportation, hospitals, health care clinics, correctional facilities and long-term care facilities. And she says immuno-compromised people should continue to follow social distance recommendations. But for schools, she adds, staff and students should continue to wear masks and practice social distance measures.

“Oregonians now have a choice of how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19,” she says. “Either get vaccinated or continue wearing a mask and following physical distancing requirements.”

On May 11, Brown announced the first dose vaccination rate that would allow her to begin re-opening Oregon: if 70 percent of the state had at least one shot of vaccination. And if counties were at 65 percent, they could be considered low risk. According to a May 11 press release, Lane County Public Health reports that 60.36 percent of the population has had at least one shot.

“The new CDC guidance makes clear that vaccines are the best tool to protect yourself and everyone around you,” Brown says. “Vaccines are also the fastest way to get back to doing the things we all love and to returning to a sense of normalcy.”