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LINCOLN COUNTY, OR (KPTV & CNN) - After mounting pressure from numerous groups, Lincoln County has decided to drop an exemption it issued that would allow people of color to not wear masks if they had heightened concerns about racial profiling.

The decision was made Wednesday evening, with county officials saying they revised the policy to address concerns from both sides of the issue.

Initially, a Lincoln County commissioner said the board felt the exemption was the right thing to do due to concerns of racial profiling. It was the of the first counties in the US to exempt people of color from wearing masks to prevent racial profiling.

According to guidance from the Oregon Health Authority, businesses should take into account that requiring people to wear face coverings impacts everyone differently, including people of color who may have heightened concerns about racial profiling.

Commissioner Claire Hall says the county’s received a lot of feedback on both sides of the issue.

“Certainly, we've got a lot of very angry white people saying we're out of our minds and worse,” Hall said. "I'd say our office has heard from at least a dozen people of color. You know one of them said aren't you aware that the virus disproportionately impacts communities of color? And I said oh yeah absolutely. But also the same people saying that you know they fear an unintended consequence of a well-intentioned policy. Let's say a person of color comes into our courthouse and chooses not to wear a face covering, they're actually more likely to be harassed and profiled than if they don't."

The County issued a statement on Wednesday evening regarding the decision.

“We are shocked and appalled at the volume of horrifically racist commentary we have received regarding this policy exception,” that statement said in part. “The expressions of racism regarding the exception has created a ripple of fear throughout our communities of color. The very policy meant to protect them is now making them a target for further discrimination and harassment.”

Lincoln County, home to nearly 50,000 residents, is almost 90% White and less than 1% Black, census data shows. But it's also home to the Siletz Reservation and a growing population of Latino residents.

The county said it will continue to recognize and fight racism.

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(16) comments

NOYB

The old fa ts in Lincoln City watched too many Zorro reruns. What a dense cloud raining idiots.

webjak

Nuts in government bowing to perceived pressure from a few vocal mental defectives.

Rgh1970

I was hoping to see the signs outside businesses that said "You must be at least this brown to not wear a mask".

mairez

Like, they don't get CV-19?????

lanquan

Last time I checked with Crayola in their 32, 64 or 128 color box, white was in there. Is white not a color? White has been White all along, yellow skin being Asians has been a norm and red skin has been American Indians. But we have the United "Negro" College Fund (color unknown), we have the NAACP, being the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (colored being a color?), then we have black people and wow, black is a color but wait, it went on to Afro-American (color unknown) and now (for the time being) African American (color unknown). It's been a hilarious ride to cow tow to the "people of color race". Hispanics are left out, as are Australian Aborigines or Eskimos...but be black and everything changes. When will their dissatisfaction with their titles ever be satisfied? Answer : Not in our lifetime!

And KPTV, I've written nothing racist, nothing rude...please don't censor my post simply because you can. Everyone has the right to speak out as long as it's not with hate, etc

Milburnky

last time I checked White, sorry caucasian, was a race. This is the definition of racism. Lets sit back and wait for the lawsuit to happen.

Jefferson

How much "of color" has to be obvious, and by whom? :)

Eliza Cassan

Next we'll hear that this was also racism since they are trying to kill people of color by not protecting them. What a absolute joke

Squib

"The county's directive diverges from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's mask guidance, which requires residents in seven counties to wear masks in indoor public spaces without exemptions for people of color."

This is not entirely true. A notice from the Oregon Heath Authority on 5/15 (OHA 2288k) does encourage people to take into account the impact on "people of color" when establishing guidelines.

Patriot

Lincoln county just proved to the world no one is more racist than them. They either think all people of "COLOR" ARE CRIMINALS OR THEY WANT THEN TO GET SICK EITHER WAY PURE RACISM.

Husky Loyalist

They just admitted that wearing of the masks is not based on medical science or they are saying Blacks can be sacrificed. I am sure too if a white person gets the virus from a black person not wearing a mask then that will be social justice. Think about it, they are doing this to not be accused of profiling yet they are segregating people from wearing the masks based on their skin color. Looney tunes.

Merlin

Racial discrimination.

steveO

Oh really? This is pure prejudice if I've ever seen it. Totally wrong and unjust. Another absolutely ridiculous decision by the government. Everyone no matter what should be required regaurdless of what color or race.

No Place Like Home

I am so over this "pity party" we have going on! We should all be equal not some are special because of their skin color. I would think that most people of color don't want a free pass.

Jefferson

According to Ancestry.com I have origins of one(1) percent from Southern Africa. Would that let me off the (mask) hook in Lincoln County?:)

lanquan

Hahaha What an absolute joke. Is there any end to this madness?

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