Employees, patrons and visitors must wear a face mask in city facilities, including the Canby Public Library and Canby Swim Center, in line with the statewide mandate recently reinstated by Governor Kate Brown.
The new rule applies to individuals age 5 and older, regardless of vaccination status. City officials said Canby Area Transit (CAT) riders age 2 and up must also mask up, pursuant to an earlier pandemic mandate for public transit.
State officials say exceptions apply for activities that would be “impractical or impossible” to do while wearing a mask, such as eating and drinking, competitive sports, singing and public speaking.
And while wearing a mask has been proven to be beneficial in most settings, the inside of a swimming pool isn’t one of them. As the CDC very helpfully points out, it is difficult to breathe through a wet mask.
At the Canby Swim Center, patrons will still be expected to wear a mask anytime they are not in the pool or showering, officials said.
“Essentially, masks must be worn during all non-swimming or showering activities,” said Facility Operator Nathan Templeman. “Swimmers should bring a labeled, sealable container to place their mask in while swimming. These containers should be left on the deck so the swimmer may put masks on immediately upon exiting the pool. When showering, masks may hang on the hooks.”
The guidelines apply to all aquatics programs, including lessons, swim team and open recreation.
“Thank you for complying with these standards so we can focus on providing a safe, fun facility to the community,” Templeman said in an email to Swim Center patrons.
The aggressive measures are coming after all-time highs in Oregon’s daily cases and hospitalizations that are expected to far exceed the state’s health system capacity in the next several weeks if additional mitigation efforts are not undertaken.
The new mandates have drawn fierce pushback from some community members and public officials, particularly in rural, less populated and more conservative areas.
Union County Sheriff Cody Bowen posted a scathing letter to Brown Friday, saying he was putting her “on notice that we the people of Union County, Oregon, have had enough!”
“You sit on the opposite side of the state and dictate with a heavy hand,” Bowen wrote. “You ramble off your orders to Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Education, telling them to carry out your mindless orders or face the consequences of your threats.
“You are inflicting more damage to our children than any virus could ever do, and you hide behind the misrepresentation that you care about us all. You, ma’am, care nothing about our children or the people of eastern Oregon.”
Despite the frustration many feel at having to dig the masks back out of the underwear drawer again, the new rules took effect for Clackamas County businesses and other indoor public spaces Friday, with seemingly little fanfare or controversy.
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