ENTERPRISE — Mask up, or show proof of vaccination.
Those are the options Oregon businesses have to give their customers following the latest guidance given out last week.
The state said on Tuesday, May 18, that businesses that are not going to mandate masks for customers will be required to see proof that an individual has been vaccinated to allow them to enter their business maskless. Unvaccinated customers would have to continue to wear masks. The other option, if businesses do not wish to check vaccination status, is they must continue to require masks of staff and customers indoors.
Individuals have to wait 14 days following the completion of a vaccination series — which is either two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer shot, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot — to be considered fully vaccinated.
Several businesses in Wallowa County declined to comment on the latest regulations.
Of those who did speak on them, Motivations Fitness Center, LLC, Owner Randy Mammenga said he is “still doing some thinking” on which route his business will go.
“On the door I still have (posted), ‘Mask required upon entry,’” he said. “Most of my clients have had the vaccine, so it’s basically, at this point, not really an issue. Personally, I think that it is kind of an overreach. I guess I am just kind of playing it by feel and by ear as to how things are going to progress. There has to be a point somewhere where we are free to go about our business. … We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.”
Jill McGinnis, director of communications and public affairs for Safeway and Albertsons, which has a Safeway store in Enterprise, said the company “will be continuing to require masks for the time being.”
Wallowa County Commissioner Todd Nash said he believes the move, which is stricter than the federal regulations that came out a few days prior that didn’t require verification of vaccination to be unmasked indoors, is another example of overreach by the government.
“I think those businesses should be driven by what they think is best for them,” he said. “I’m not going to speak to the rules. The information of those individuals and (their) medical and vaccine history should be their own personal business. That is what I am going to advocate for.”
Nash expressed confidence the businesses in the county would be able to navigate through the regulations to come to the best solution for each of them.
“I think businesses here need to figure out how they are going to deal with it individually, and they will work through that themselves,” he said.
Cases of COVID 19 have been decreasing statewide. In Wallowa County, the Oregon Health Authority reported one case of COVID-19 Tuesday, May 18, and two on Wednesday, May 19. There have been none reported since. That brings the overall case total to 187.
As of Monday, May 24, the OHA reported 64% of Oregonians 18 years and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 shot. In Wallowa County, that number is 52.8%, or 3,113 out of 5,898 people in that age range. The vaccination rate for the entire county is 43.5%.