With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation, people everywhere are looking for ways to protect themselves against the threat of infection. One county in Oregon has decided not to make wearing face masks mandatory for people of color, citing the reason for the decision had to do with racial injustice and inequality.
Various counties all across Oregon have begun implementing mandatory face mask ordinates to slow down the spread of this new mutated coronavirus taking the world by storm. In Lincoln County, the public’s general directive is that everyone must wear a face mask when engaging in a public event or any large gathering when social distancing is not possible.
However, on the official Lincoln County website, it states the following: “People of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public” are not required to adhere to these mandates.
Public Response To The Decision
Some other exemptions include those suffering from certain pre-existing medical conditions or ailments and all of those under the age of 12. The county also released a statement saying that the mandate was “self-executing” and that no one should be forced or intimidated into wearing one if someone in public sees they don’t have one on.
Representatives of Lincoln county said that the reason for this decision was that racism and racist reactions to Black, indigenous, and people of color wearing face coverings are a reality. And yet we know face coverings can help people stay healthy and save lives. Multnomah County does not tolerate discrimination or violence toward individuals because of their race, ethnicity, or identity.”
Many people in public are outraged, stating that instead of allowing people of color to decide whether to wear a mask or not, you should focus on the systemic issues that cause people of color to be unproportionate targeted and harassed by in uniform.
How It Impacts You
While the decision to make this mandate may have come out of the right place, not requiring specific portions of your population to wear a mask only because the fear of police brutality is insane. The fact remains that COVID-19 is still genuine and can disastrously impact the body regardless of skin color.
By allowing people not to wear masks, you put their lives at risk, but you also put the well-being and safety of others at risk. As COVID-19 cases across the country continue to rise, the mask mandate will go a long way in helping protect people from getting affected by the disease.
While the decision is totally up to you whether you want to wear a mask or not, remember that you will be putting innocent lives at risk if you decide not to wear one.
The world as a whole is still learning a lot about how this virus impacts the body and how we can work towards solutions that make everyone safe and more insulated from this viral spread.