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Mask requirements differ in neighboring states in response to CDC guidelines

In Washington state, CDC guidelines were adopted hours after they were announced. In Oregon, the process is taking longer.

HOOD RIVER, Oregon — Outside along Oak Street in Hood River, people are walking the sidewalks on a nice spring day. Some are masked, some are not. And some are putting masks on around others, as Oregon rules based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines get ironed out.

“It seems like it's just a work in progress, it changes all the time," said Peter List of Portland. "But I'm glad people are trying to keep us safe."

The Oregon rules for inside are still posted at most businesses, that masks are required. At G. Willikers Toy Shoppe, they've rolled with the punches for more than a year. Their space is small, so they continue to limit how many people can be in the store, holding off on any changes for now.

“We're waiting, we're waiting to hear what the guidelines are," said store manager Megan Gauthier. “It's been a long year. I'm a pretty patient person and I can wait a little longer but I do look forward to it so we can make our plans and see what our next evolution is.”

Across the Columbia River in White Salmon Washington, the picturesque town is telling people we're all in this together and to mask up, on small flags on light posts.

That works for a woman named Joanne, who says she's glad things are easing up. 

“But when I'm inside, until I know that everyone is vaccinated I'm going to wear a mask and when I'm outside I won't.”

Nearby, Chris Stiffler is getting his wine bar opened up for the afternoon. He said the weekend brought in visitors to his Le Doubblé Troubblé Wine Company, and most but not all masked up. For Stiffler, Washington going with CDC guidelines right away gets him out of the mask police businesses he's tired of.

“I'm not going to ask customers if they're vaccinated or not; if somebody walks in without a mask on these days I'm going to assume they're vaccinated and going with it,” said Stiffler. “I've continued to wear my mask inside to make people feel comfortable."

Back in Hood River, as they wait for the state's guidance, they'll keep the masks as needed, for now.  In fact, at Grand Coffee Brewers and Café, they may keep them on longer.

“As long as we’re keeping our employees safe, and people are wearing masks while they’re ordering, I think that’s the most important thing to our business,” said Calvin Vansisseren. “We would like everyone to be wearing masks inside if they’re not eating or drinking.”

People like Peter List are happy to respect businesses requests to mask up, while looking forward to more freedom in the future.

“Like that everybody is vaccinated and we can breathe free and let's get back to normal, if there is a normal.”

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