Oregon County Forced To Change Mandate Which Forced Only White People To Wear Masks
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After receiving harsh backlash, Lincoln County in Oregon has changed their mandate where they required only white people to wear masks in public.
While the order forced white people to wear masks, people of color were not required to wear a mask because of "racial profiling and harassment."
Check out what the New York Post reported:
Health officials recently announced that residents must wear face coverings where they may come within six feet of another individual who is not from the same household.
But people of color did not have to follow the rule if they had “heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment” over wearing the masks, officials said earlier.
The county changed their policy on Wednesday, saying that it "does more harm than good."
“We included the protections for those within our communities of color who historically, and often personally, found themselves the victims of harassment and violence,” the county Board of Commissioners stated in their statement.
“We are shocked and appalled at the volume of horrifically racist commentary we have received regarding this policy exemption,” the statement added.
The New York Post continues:
Commission spokesman Casey Miller said the scrapped exception was a well-intentioned way for people worried about racial profiling to not wear a mask.
“I thought it was mindfully crafted. The focus of the directive was really on the health aspect,” he told USA Today about the directive, which came out when the county was experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases after an outbreak at a seafood plant in Newport.
With mask requirements becoming more common, activists have raised concerns that the directives could put non-white people in danger.
But the directive apparently had the opposite effect, sparking a torrent of angry phone calls and messages from residents.
“We passed this last week and didn’t hear much. And then all of a sudden, our call center blows up with people just yelling at whoever answers the phone,” Miller said.
“We got so many angry emails and calls, we’ve been totally overwhelmed. It’s been hard to do day-to-day work, like getting information to people worried about health, or getting a test, or getting a meal while they’re in quarantine," he added.
In response to the angry calls, the Board of Commissioners said that “the county received several calls from leadership from our communities of color asking us to revise the policy — it was not providing them protection, but instead making them possible targets for more hate."
“We will not continue a directive and policies that were intended to assist but instead are a potential source of harm,” they added.
The new rules will only allow people with medical conditions or disabilities to not wear a mask.
“Discrimination and racism faced by people of color wearing face coverings, particularly black men, are issues of significant concern, and we recognize the reasoning for Lincoln County’s exemption,” said spokesman for Governor Kate Brown, Charles Boyle.
“However, it is also the case that black, indigenous, Latinx, Pacific Islander, and other communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and disparities in our health system,” Boyle continued. “For the state’s face covering requirements, public health and stopping the spread of this disease is our top priority.”
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