State mask mandates around the country are starting to expire or be whittled away.
The first were called out as dangerous and ridiculed by politicians, health policy makers, news media and citizens across the globe. The dire consequences that were predicted have fallen flat.
But, one state is bucking the trend, instead of loosening restriction, Oregon is considering making them permanent, or at least indefinite.
Michael Wood, administrator of the state’s department of Occupational Safety and Health, said the move is necessary to address a technicality in state law that requires a “permanent” rule to keep current restrictions from expiring.
“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said.
But the idea has prompted a flood of angry responses, with everyone from parents to teachers to business owners and employees crying government overreach.
Wood’s agency received a record number of public comments, mostly critical, and nearly 60,000 residents signed a petition against the proposal.
Opponents also are upset government officials won’t say how low Oregon's COVID-19 case numbers must go, or how many people would have to be vaccinated, to get the requirements lifted in a state that’s already had some of the nation’s strictest safety measures.
Virginia is also testing the waters on how they can extend the life of mandates.
We don't yet know what other states have in the works, but it's safe to say that there will be others that follow suit.
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