Business Enforcement of Statewide Face Covering Guidance

With daily complaints about businesses not enforcing the guidance requiring people over age 12 to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, we are grateful for the Oregon OSHA memo below clarifying how businesses need to enforce.

“The State of Oregon recognizes the challenges created by the guidance that directs businesses and others responsible for indoor spaces to require employees, contractors, volunteers, customers and visitors to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering. In implementing the requirement as it relates to customers or visitors who are not wearing a mask, face shield, or facial covering, Oregon OSHA expects a business or other responsible for indoor spaces to take the following measures:

  • If an employee or other representative of the employer encounters a customer or visitor without a mask, face shield or facial covering, they should politely draw the customer or visitor’s attention to the public health requirement to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering.
  • Best Practice: Arrange to greet customers upon entry so that the issue can be addressed as they enter the store.
  • Best Practice: Keep a supply of inexpensive disposable face coverings to offer customers or guests who do not have one.
  • If an individual declines to wear a mask, face shield or face covering, the employer (or their representative) should politely inquire as to whether the person has a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.
  • If the individual indicates they have a medical condition or disability that prohibits them from wearing a mask, face shield or face covering, the employer may offer them an accommodation – an alternative method of service that would still protect others in the business or indoor space (such as curbside pickup if practical, shopping from a catalog, etc.), or ask them if a face shield would be a suitable option.
  • Best Practice: Keep a supply of face shields that can be loaned and then sanitized between uses.
  • If the individual indicates that they do not have a relevant medical condition or disability (or refuses to answer) but refuses to wear a mask, face shield or face covering, they should be politely told that the employer cannot serve them and that they need to leave the premises. Under no circumstances should the employer or their representative attempt to physically block an individual from entering or physically remove them from the premises. If the individual refuses to leave, the business or other organization should follow whatever procedures would normally be employed if an individual refuses to leave the establishment when asked to do.
  • Best Practice: Offer the same options to shop outside the business to individuals who choose not to wear a mask, face shield or face covering as you would to someone with a disability or medical condition.
  • Best Practice: Make sure employees know that, if an individual indicates they have difficulty hearing or understanding them with the mask or face covering it is appropriate to step farther away, then to lift or remove the mask or face covering.”

To file a complaint related to OHA guidance, please first contact OSHA:

Visit the OSHA website to file a complaint. Towards the top of the page is a paragraph, “We recommend that employees first attempt to resolve safety and health issues by reporting them to their supervisors, managers, or to their employer’s safety and health committee,” followed by:

Complaint form  English   Spanish

You can also contact the OSHA Bend Field Office at 541-388-6066.

If you still see violations, call our office at 541-889-7279 after you have filed an OSHA complaint and seen an additional concern and we will follow up.

One thought on “Business Enforcement of Statewide Face Covering Guidance

  1. While the requirement that employees and customers in Oregon stores wear face masks indoors, I still see numerous instances at the larger stores in our community where the business has signs in small font saying that the county suggests we all wear masks. Most larger box and chain stores in Ontario have not accepted the responsibility on themselves to protect our population’s health and opportunity for economic activity; even their opportunity to keep their businesses open. Perhaps that disregard for the requirement that we wear face masks in indoor public spaces is the result of these businesses benefiting in the early portion of the year when they remained open by placing a few pieces of tape on the floor and serving an increased number of customers when their smaller competitors were closed for a few months.
    I ask the County Court during their July 15 meeting to be sure Malheur County businesses are aware of what is required both by the Court’s resolution and the State of Oregon orders. If we do not want to return to a stay-at-home order it is imperative that the Malheur County Court do more than simply passing an overdue resolution to be filed away and disregarded.

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