Unmasking the New Mask Guidelines (or Trying to)

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Unmasking the New Mask Guidelines (or Trying to)

The rapidly changing COVID restrictions aren’t done yet! As you may have heard by now, the CDC announced yesterday morning that its new guidelines included the removal of mask wearing recommendations for fully-vaccinated individuals in most circumstances—both indoor and outdoor. 

We waited anxiously to see if the Governor would announce an intention to align Oregon’s guidelines with the CDC. Meanwhile, letters were sent by Republican leaders in the House and Senate requesting the Governor do just that. Late yesterday afternoon, the Governor Brown announced that Oregon would in fact follow the new CDC guidelines—making us one of seven states to make such an announcement. 

Things are still uncertain for how and when this rule change will be implemented by businesses, what it means for the larger plan of reopening our state, what guidelines businesses will use for verifying vaccination status, how HIPAA will factor into the process, and so much more. I’m sure you have concerns and a long list of questions—and so do I. 

The Governor has requested patience, and said there should be more clarity coming in the next few days, but what we know is: 

  • Masks are still required for fully vaccinated individuals in hospitals, health-care clinics, jails and prisons, long-term care facilities and when riding on buses, trains, planes or waiting in an airport 
  • The change does not apply to schools for the rest of the school year 

I wish I had all the answers for you, but this will be another wait and see situation. And buckle up—if this journey has taught us anything, it’s to expect plenty of twits and turns—and unexpected bumps—before this is all over.

SB 405 House Passage

In other news, SB 405 was signed by the Governor this week! This wildfire recovery bill grants more time for “grandfathered-in” property owners to rebuild. There is so much more work that needs done to reduce barriers for rebuilding, but little by little—and with the dedication of our communities—we’re going to get there! You can read more about this bill in this OPB article.

National Police Week

This is National Police Week--a proclamation made by President Kennedy in 1962, including Peace Officers Memorial Day (tomorrow).

Since 1776, there have been 24,881 officers killed in the line of duty, 187 of which happened here in Oregon. 

This week is a great opportunity not only to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty, but also those who put their lives on the line for us every single day. To all of our law enforcement out there: THANK YOU!

Police Officer Week Graphic

REAL ID Deadline Extended to May 2023

REAL ID Banner

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the REAL ID full enforcement date by 19 months, from October 1, 2021 to May 3, 2023, due to circumstances resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has significantly impacted states’ ability to issue REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards, with many driver’s licensing agencies still operating at limited capacity.

Every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport security checkpoints for domestic air travel. 

Click here for more information

COVID Vaccine Information & Update

The American Rescue Plan includes a paid leave tax credit for certain businesses who provide their employees with paid time off used to get the COVID-19 vaccine and recover from any side effects. The tax credit offsets the cost for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees—nearly half of all private sector employees in America—between April 1 and September 30, 2021. 

The IRS has compiled this fact sheet, which includes eligibility criteria, details about the tax credit and how to claim it.

For more information on getting vaccinated, please use the resources below.

OHA County Vaccination Graphic

To view previous newsletters, please visit my website.

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1417
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-378, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.JamiCate@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/cate