facemask cites file

Ardan Princena wears a facemark as he hands menus to Belinda Buswell and Levi Tickner at the Cheyenne Café in Joseph on Monday, May 18. Rumors of businesses not obeying state orders to require facemasks are just that — rumors.

ENTERPRISE — Despite signs of people flaunting the statewide mandate to wear facemasks in public and maintain social distancing, there has been no crackdown on violators, state and local officials report.

“It’s a relatively new mandate,” said Aaron Corvin, public information officer for the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Corvin said that given the newness of the directive, his agency would take other measures first before issuing citations.

“We have received complaints that businesses are not enforcing it,” he said.

Corvin said the complaints have come from all over the state. As of Friday, July 17, no citations had been issued in Wallowa County and only one complaint had been received.

Gov. Kate Brown expanded Oregon’s statewide face mask policy effective July 15, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. The policy requires most Oregonians wear masks in outdoor situations when they cannot stay 6 feet from other people.

The governor also announced July 13 a statewide limit of 10 people in indoor social gatherings. Those limits would not apply to businesses or worship services, the governor’s office said.

One Wallowa County business had reportedly been fined for not enforcing masks and distancing but the owner said that was not the case.

“For Oregon OSHA, our jurisdiction is to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for workers,” Corvin said.

He did note that his office had received rumors of people impersonating OSHA compliance officers who demanded cash, but that was an attempt at a scam.

“We don’t operate that way,” he said.

Local law enforcement is leaving enforcement of the facemask and distancing to OSHA. Enterprise Police Chief Joel Fish said his department is taking no part in enforcement actions. There was no response from the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office.

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