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The COVID Police
OSHA, OLCC and BOLI will continue to enforce

The Oregon Health Authority released its new Statewide mask requirements today. Here is what you need to know.

Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

All businesses, employers and faith institutions are required to continue to apply and enforce the mask, face covering and face shield guidance, and physical distancing requirements in state COVID-19 guidance to all individuals unless a business, employer or faith institution: Business that chose not to have a policy for checking proof of vaccine may remain open with face coverings required for all customers.

In a press conference regarding the release of the new options, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), was asked about the burden this places on businesses to be the ones to ask for proof and then “validate” the proof. He replied “That is why businesses have a choice to wear the mask or ask for customers to show their vaccine card. If it is too hard or they don’t want to review records they can continue to require masks.”

Dr. Siedlinger was also asked about enforcement and who or what state agencies would be responsible for enforcing the business implementation of vaccine proof for those businesses that chose to drop the masks. He responded that “enforcement will continue to be done like it has been done throughout the pandemic by using existing Executive Order authority which includes the use of the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) and local public health departments. Also, individuals can file complaints and OSHA will follow up on the complaint.

The current enforcement language Dr. Sidelinger was referring to is contained in Executive Order 20-66, section 10.

10. Enforcement.
a. This Executive Order, the Risk Level Metrics, and any guidance issued by OHA or another state agency designated by the Governor to implement this Executive Order, are public health laws as defined in ORS 431A.005, and may be enforced as permitted under ORS 43lA.010, including but not limited to enforcement via civil penalties as provided in that statute, which has a statutory maximum fine of $500 per day per violation.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

b. In addition to any other penalty that may be imposed under applicable laws, any person, business, or entity found to be in violation of this Executive Order, the Risk Level Metrics, or any guidance issued by OHA or other state agencies to implement this Executive Order, is subject to the penalties described in ORS 401.990, in particular, that any person knowingly violating this Executive Order shall, upon conviction thereof, be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine of $1,250 or both.

c. I direct other state agencies with regulatory enforcement authority, including but not limited to Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), to continue their efforts to protect the lives and health of Oregonians by enforcing, under existing civil and administrative enforcement authorities, the directives in this Executive Order, the Risk Level Metrics, and any guidance issued by OHA or other state agencies to implement this Executive Order.

d. I direct the Superintendent of the Oregon State Police to coordinate with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to enforce the directives of this Executive Order, the Risk Level Metrics, or any guidance issued by OHA or other state agencies to implement this Executive Order, as appropriate. It is my expectation that law enforcement agencies will primarily focus on referral to civil enforcement authorities and will reserve criminal citations for willful and flagrant violations of this order.

So, the question is, how will business know if a vaccine card is authentic? Rachel Monahan with Willamette Week also asked Dr. Sidelinger during the press conference about the authenticity of vaccine cards and the fact that they can be easily faked. Dr. Sidelinger responded saying “We are not expecting businesses to check vax cards for authenticity”. He went on to add that vaccine proof could be “the actual paper record issued during the vaccination, a copy of the record or photograph of the record on your smart phone”. He also assured reporters that “the proof will NOT be recorded by the business they just need to see it”.

The Biden administration has also declared it would not create a federal vaccination database, citing privacy concerns, paving the way for the cards to become the country’s default national way to verify if someone has been vaccinated according to an NBC News Report on forged vaccine certificates. In addition, in an April 6th press conference, White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki said "The government is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential. Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans' privacy and rights should be protected, and so that these systems are not used against people unfairly." So, do the new OHA rules go against the federal government and the Biden administration?

In a press release from the Oregon Senate Republicans, Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons) said,

“Vaccine passports are completely contrary to Oregonians' sense of privacy,” in a democracy, having to present proper paperwork to engage in everyday activities is a complete violation of public trust and an invasion of privacy. This kind of dictatorial control over the everyday lives of Oregonians must stop. The Governor should immediately rescind this misguided edict and trust Oregonians.”

The press release went on to say that, to date, Oregon is one of the first, if not the first, to mandate that its residents present credentials to engage in everyday activities without a mask. Struggling small businesses will now need to hire extra staff to question Oregonians’ medical history at these checkpoints or reject scientific recommendations by still mandating masks for vaccinated Oregonians.


--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-05-19 07:25:44Last Update: 2021-05-19 07:59:20



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