PORTLAND, Ore. — Hood to Coast is still on for Friday, Aug. 27 even with the surge in new COVID-19 cases in Oregon. Relay CEO Dan Floyd said the state's new outdoor mask mandate, which starts on Friday, will be enforced.
Floyd said runners will be required to wear masks at the start of the race at Mt. Hood, during exchanges, and at the finish line in Seaside. He also said runners should wear a mask whenever they cannot socially distance.
Around 20,000 runners typically participate in Hood to Coast, but this year, there's only 13,000 due to several international teams opting out. Some KGW viewers shared their concerns about the race, and said they think it should be canceled.
Aimee Patterson lives in Seaside and said the small community cannot handle a huge surge in COVID-19 cases.
"Even though they say it's going to masked, not everybody is going to wear their masks," Patterson said. "It's a consistent thing here, yes there's a mask mandate, but not everyone is following the mandate."
Patterson said she hasn't had COVID-19, but she just finished a 10-day quarantine because people in her family contracted the virus.
Floyd understands people's concerns, but said the race will be done safely.
"It's a 200-mile relay race, where the participants are spread out over those 200 miles." Floyd said. "We have some strict guidelines, we also have a waiting list, so if participants, volunteers, and employees cannot follow those guidelines, they will not be invited back."
Teams are expected to wear masks when they're inside vans, and at the finish party in Seaside. There will also be free COVID-19 vaccine shots offered at the party.