SALEM, OR (KPTV) -  Masks will be required in most outdoor settings in Oregon starting Friday, Aug. 27, regardless of vaccination status, Gov. Kate Brown announced. 

According to the governor's office, the outdoor mask mandate applies to large outdoor events where physical distancing is not possible. 

“The Delta variant is spreading fast and wide, throwing our state into a level of crisis we have not yet seen in the pandemic. Cases and hospitalizations are at a record high,” Brown said in a prepared statement. “Masks are a quick and simple tool we can immediately deploy to protect ourselves and our families, and quickly help stop further spread of COVID-19."

Masks will be required in most outdoor settings in Oregon starting Friday, Aug. 27, regardless of vaccination status, Gov. Kate Brown announced.

The new requirements don't extend to outdoor gathering at private residences, but state health officials "strongly recommend" masking at gatherings when people from different households can't distance. The rules also don't apply to "fleeting encounters," like two people walking by each other on a trail or in a park. 

“It is much easier for people with the Delta variant, compared to people who were sick last year, to infect others around them,” said State Health Officer Dr. Dean Sidelinger. “This is because they have one thousand times more virus in their nose – which means that those around them are much more likely to get sick because this variant behaves so differently. We are starting to see instances where cases are clustering around events, like outdoor music festivals, that happen outdoors. Wearing masks in crowded settings – even outdoors – will help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The rule does not apply to children under 5; people who are actively eating drinking and sleeping; people experiencing homelessness; people who are playing competitive sports, and people performing outdoors. 

The new mandate comes as Oregon faces record COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations. As of Monday, there were 937 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon. There were 47 available adult ICU beds out of 657 total and 349 available adult non-ICU beds out of 4,172.

A statewide indoor mask mandate has been in effect since August 13. 

Virus Outbreak Oregon Mask Rule

Residents wearing masks sit in downtown Lake Oswego, Ore., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Tens of thousands of Oregon residents are angry about a proposal to make permanent an emergency rule that requires masks and social distancing in the state's businesses and schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Opponents worry about government overreach and fear that state officials won't remove the mask requirements for businesses even after threat of the virus has receded if the emergency rule becomes permanent. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

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