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January 6, 2022

Portland to distribute free masks to local businesses to help with mandate

The city of Portland will distribute free masks on Thursday for local businesses to help customers comply with the new indoor mask ordinance that went into effect this week.

Under an emergency ordinance enacted by the City Council on Monday night, face coverings must be worn by anyone age 2 or over when inside public places in Portland. The ordinance, designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, went into effect on Wednesday. 

Businesses also must post "masks required" signs by Jan. 10. Businesses that require proof of vaccination of everyone on premises do not need to require masks be worn.

The city will provide surgical masks to local businesses who need them. The masks will be available for pick up at City Hall, through the Myrtle Street entrance, on Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., as well as on Jan. 11 at the same location and time. 

Window decals will not be available during the Jan. 6 distribution, but will be available Jan. 11.

Additionally, on Jan. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., public health staff will host a pop-up distribution site at 39 Forest Ave. where they will have mask supplies and window decals, as well as offer vaccines and boosters without an appointment.

The city has also updated its posters and signage, and businesses are able to download digital versions from the website.

In addition to businesses, the mask mandate also applies to buses, cabs and other public transportation vehicles. It does not, however, apply in public schools, churches or office space where occupants can be physically separated from the public, or portions of a gym, theater or athletic arena where everyone performing or exercising has been vaccinated and there is space, a physical barrier or ventilation separating them from the general public.

The council will review the ordinance every 30 days to determine whether or not it stays in effect.  

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