With the rising population of Oregonians getting the COVID 19 vaccination, 53% having received at least one dose by Thursday, May 27, Governor Kate Brown recently put out a new mask mandate in line with the CDC guidance stating that those who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask.
At school the mask mandate remains, but out in the real world, students are faced with their own decisions and the effect of Kate Brown’s mandate.
Aside from student life, many find themselves also in the work field, and they are greatly being affected by this new change of rules.
Senior Georgia Black who works at Marshall’s has already had to deal with the effects of this mandate at work.
“So far, we’ve had a lot of customers come in and refuse to wear a mask, they don’t understand that we still have a policy in place that requires customers to wear masks for the safety of other customers and employees,” Black said. “We don’t know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, so there isn’t much we can do about it.”
Laws such as HIPAA, which protects a patient’s privacy, may not prevent business from looking at a person’s vaccination card, but they complicate the mandate. It causes a very confusing and stressful situation for both customers and employees.
Even Junior Janet Polanco who works at Dairy Queen has concerning experiences pertaining to face coverings.
“I’ve had customers come into the lobby with no mask or their masks pulled down; no one has made a fuss about having to put it on, but I could definitely tell from their expression that they were over it,” Polanco said. “I’ve also had many customers come up to the window with no mask, which honestly shocks me considering how I’m still close enough to hand them their food.”
With the possibility of those being fully vaccinated still having the chance of contract COVID, it raises mixed feelings and even concerns on the topic.
“I’m kind of unsure about it honestly,” Polanco said. “I feel like conditions should be better than what they are right now before we start taking masks off.”
Black shares similar viewpoints.
“I don’t think it was the right time to change to a new mandate while lots of people are getting vaccinated, there are plenty of people who aren’t and are instead lying about it, which puts many people in danger of contracting COVID 19,” Black said. “I’m just worried about people lying about their vaccinations and one of my coworkers getting sick.”
With this mandate affecting those currently in the work field it is also affecting those who plan on starting work as well.
Junior Lilan Le has completed interviews and will be starting at her new job relatively soon.
“It’s a bit stressful thinking of the different situations that I might be put in regarding how to address customers and their masks,” Le said. “Not knowing if people are fully telling the truth of their vaccinations is also a bit concerning.”
With how the pandemic has progressed, this mask mandate has created a much more confusing and complicated situation, even as it signals the end of the pandemic.
“I know it was a step in the right direction, and I wish there was a way we could definitely know who is vaccinated and who isn’t, but until then it’s just nice to know we are making progress,” Black said.
With the situation constantly changing it is most likely that rules will continue to change along with it.