Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Jan. 19, 2022

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Oregon Zoo, OMSI, Portland Art Museum, other attractions unite to continue mask policy

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A group of the 14 leading Portland-area museums and cultural attractions released a unified statement Thursday that masks would continue to be required for visitors and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizations united in the policy include the Architectural Heritage Center, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, Five Oaks Museum, Japanese American Museum of Oregon, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Oregon Zoo, Portland Art Museum, Portland Chinatown Museum, Pittock Mansion, and Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals.

“While our organizations have different missions, we share much in common,” read the statement, which was prepared by the Oregon Historical Society. “We are all community spaces where everyone can come together to learn and to deepen our understanding of the world we share. We all welcome visitors of all ages. And we all understand that the health and safety of our visitors, staffs, and volunteers must remain our top priority. For now, we agree that means continuing to require our visitors to wear masks.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new masking guidance last week, which has caused confusion for many across the country. In some states, rules have changed masking rules completely, while others still have policies in place.

In Oregon, that confusion has only intensified. The state said businesses could decide their own mask rules, but would have to check proof of vaccination if they wanted customers and visitors to be mask-free. To minimize the confusion, the statement from the 14 organizations keeps mask policies the same as it has been for all visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Another key for the united policy is the safety of families with children not currently eligible to be vaccinated, as well as individuals unable to get vaccinated.

“We all look forward to the day in the near future when we can safely lift the mask requirement,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, the CDC endorsed the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12, allowing the vaccination rollout to expand to adolescents. Pfizer was the first vaccine supplier to gain authorization for 12-to-15-year-olds in the United States. Pfizer and Moderna are still conducting clinical trials of their vaccines for groups of children as young as six months.

Individual policies for each organization may change in the future. The Oregon Historical Society urges visitors to check each organization as they plan their visits for any changes.

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