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VERIFY: Oregon OSHA does not want to extend COVID-19 workplace rules forever

Per state law, Oregon OSHA can't extend the current temporary rule. The agency plans to adopt a permanent rule and then repeal it after the pandemic.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) wants to extend the COVID-19-related rules for masks, social distancing and training in workplaces until the pandemic ends.

There has been a lot of misinformation circulating on social media about the plan, and that's led to a lot of questions in the KGW VERIFY inbox. 

Melissa emailed VERIFY asking:

A friend of mine on Facebook posted something about Oregon OSHA looking to make the mask mandate permanent (with no expiration date) here in Oregon, even in outdoor spaces, beaches, parks, as well. This is an extreme over-reach in my opinion. Can you help shed some light on this, please?

For the answer, KGW's VERIFY team checked out the language in the proposed rule by OSHA and interviewed Oregon OSHA public information officer Aaron Corvin.

Oregon OSHA adopted temporary emergency rules last November to protect against COVID in the workplace, but the rules expire May 4. The rules require masks, social distancing and training related to the pandemic.

Corvin said since the pandemic is not over, the agency wants to keep the mandate going.

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Per existing state law, OSHA can't extend the existing temporary rule beyond 180 days. The agency plans to pass a permanent rule and then repeal it when the pandemic is over. The plan to repeal the rule is included in the proposed draft. 

Oregon OSHA has put out infographics on Facebook to dispel rumors that the agency wants the rule to last forever, but the misinformation continues to spread. 

"It's sad. It's unfortunate. I think what we've attempted to do is stay focused on our mission, which is advancing workplace health and safety for all Oregonians," said Corvin.

RELATED: Here are the current Oregon COVID risk levels

KGW can VERIFY, Oregon OSHA does not want to pass COVID workplace rules forever.

You can weigh in on OSHA's plan here. 

Do you have something you want us to Verify? Email us at Verify@KGW.com