Action Item: OHA Permanent Mask Mandate

Kim Wallan


Many of you have written to or called my office about the Oregon Health Authority's plans to make their indoor mask mandate permanent. I share your concerns about this overreach. 

Below you will find information about how to enter your comments in the public record. On January 20, beginning at 10:00 a.m., OHA will begin taking testimony about their proposed permanent indoor mask rule. 

While it is true that we are in the midst of the predicted spike in omicron cases, OHSU and other experts never anticipated this wave of infections to overburden our hospital systems. We know that this variant is more transmissible but less harmful than previous variants, and we expect to see infections peak around the beginning of February, followed by a steep decline. 

It has also been confirmed by the CDC and others that cloth masks do not stop the spread of omicron. In spite of the ineffectiveness of cloth masks, the Oregon Health Authority is moving ahead with its permanent rule mandating masks at every indoor location in the state. There is no end date to this rule, and OHA has refused to provide any kind of metrics they would use to repeal the rule in the future. They say only that they will "review it periodically". 

Making this rule permanent places an undue burden on Oregonians and our businesses, schools, and places of worship. I encourage you to add your comments to the public record. I have outlined the steps for providing testimony below. 

I very much appreciate the communication I have received from you, but unfortunately, emails and phone calls to my office do not become public comment on this rulemaking. As a member of the Legislative Branch, I am separate from the governor's Executive Agencies. In order to oppose this rulemaking, you must follow the steps below to submit verbal or written testimony to OHA. 

If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at


Directions for Testifying: Permanent Masks

Late on the afternoon of Friday, December 10, OHA announced the public comment period for this proposed rulemaking. You can provide written testimony by mail or e-mail. All of the information for providing public testimony, both verbal and written, is as follows:

How to Provide Oral Testimony:

  • Adoption of a rule requiring masks to be worn in indoor spaces in Oregon (OAR 333-019-1025): January 20, 2022 at 10:00 AM (Phone Conference ID: 389 374 45#)

To provide oral testimony during any of these hearings, please contact to sign-up and receive the link for the Microsoft Teams video conference. Alternatively, for audio only, you may dial 971-277-2343 using the phone conference ID# as the password listed for each hearing above.

You may also file written comments on these proposed rules before 5:00 p.m. on January 24, 2022 to the Public Health Division Rules Coordinator at the following address:

OHA, Public Health Division
Administrative Rules Coordinator
800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 930
Portland, Oregon 97232

Email comments to: You may also send comments by fax to: (971) 673-1299.

Please indicate in your written comments which rule number(s) you are commenting on so they can be entered into the appropriate rulemaking record.

If you have any questions, please contact

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1406
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-376, Salem, OR 97301