A top health official in the state of Oregon is being accused of “medical fascism” after trying to make coronavirus restrictions for workplaces and businesses permanent.
Michael Wood, the administrator of the Oregon Department of Occupational Safety and Health, first proposed the idea in early February, but it didn’t take flight in the media until now.
At the time, the press release claimed that, because of a technicality, the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions would expire unless the rule was made permanent.
#OregonOSHA is proposing a permanent rule that largely maintains (with some improvements) the risk-reducing measures required by the current temporary emergency rule. It would replace the temporary rule, which expires on May 4.
Read the full press release: https://t.co/Y6S8sWzSqQ pic.twitter.com/zIEAI91RyI
— DCBS (@OregonDCBS) February 1, 2021
However, the rule would eventually be repealed the moment restrictions were “no longer necessary.”
“Although the rule must be adopted as a permanent rule because the law does not allow a temporary rule to be extended, Oregon OSHA expects to repeal the permanent rule once it is no longer needed to address the coronavirus pandemic,” it read.
In a statement, Wood argued that this is a necessary step to stop the spread of the virus.
“The public health emergency triggered by COVID-19 remains a significant concern in Oregon – as we know, we have not yet defeated this disease and we clearly will not have done so by the time the temporary rule expires,” he said.
“As a result, it is critically important that we carry forward measures that we know are effective at combating the spread of this disease and reducing risks in the workplace. Failure to do so will undoubtedly leave workers far less protected and leave employers with far less clarity and certainty in terms of what is expected of them.”
As reported by BizPacReview, a final decision won’t be made until May 4th.
To no surprise, state republicans are not fond of the idea.
“When will masks be unnecessary? What scientific studies do these mandates rely on, particularly now that the vaccine is days away from being available to everyone?” state Sen. Kim Thatcher asked this past week. “Businesses have had to play ‘mask cop’ for the better part of a year now. They deserve some certainty on when they will no longer be threatened with fines.”
Oregon residents aren’t either. Several took to social media to express their discontent.
As mask mandates end, Oregon bucks trend with permanent rule.
— Charles Freedberg (@cbergmaga) April 18, 2021
— Guy Montag's (Fahrenheit 451) Censored America (@451_guy) April 18, 2021
— Jorj X McKie (@jjs92285) April 17, 2021