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OSHA implements temporary COVID-19 rules for Oregon businesses

These rules go into effect Monday and are separate from Gov. Brown's guidelines linked to her statewide 'freeze' that begins Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Starting Monday, Oregon businesses will be required to implement temporary new rules aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hopes a new set of temporary emergency rules will help reverse the state's recent surge of COVID-19 cases. The rules build upon current guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

The OSHA rules are separate from guidelines set forth by Gov. Kate Brown in a nine-county "pause" that began Nov. 11, and a statewide "freeze" that starts Wednesday.

A draft of the OSHA COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules was released in late October. An OSHA spokesperson said the rules were decided upon after much discussion with the public and stakeholders.

Here's a look at some of the new OSHA rules:

  • Employers must ensure six-foot distancing between people in the workplace
  • Employers must ensure that all employees and customers wear a face mask, face covering or face shield in the workplace, and must provide that equipment for employees, free of charge
  • During work-related transportation, everyone inside the vehicle must wear a face mask, face covering or face shield
  • Employers must notify affected employees of a work-related COVID-19 infection with 24 hours
  • Employers must create an infection control plan, including when workers are required to use personal protective equipment, by Dec. 7
  • Employers must provide training on how to reduce COVID-19 in the workplace, starting Dec. 21

To see all the rules and exceptions, please read OSHA's COVID-19 workplace safety and health rules.

Michael Wood, administrator for OSHA, said he believes that the guidelines do a good job of balancing the importance of protecting workers and business interests.

"We're actually pretty proud of the balance we were able to strike with our rule," Wood told KGW in late October when the draft was released. "It's important to protect workers. It's critical. But it's also important to recognize there are businesses that have taken a pretty hard hit during all of this as well."

BACKGROUND: Oregon OSHA to implement new COVID-19 workplace standards

Oregon becomes the third state to implement COVID-19 emergency workplace standards, joining Virginia and Michigan.

The new temporary OSHA rules will expire after 180 days, but Wood said OSHA will implement permanent rules when the current rules expire.

Gov. Brown's two-week "freeze," which was announced Friday and begins Wednesday, limits restaurants and bars to takeout only and closes recreational facilities and venues that host indoor or outdoor events.

The governor's freeze will last through Dec. 2 for most counties and longer for others, such as Multnomah County, which will be under the new restrictions for at least four weeks.

Here the list of new restrictions the governor's office released Friday:

  • Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
  • Limiting faith based organizations to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
  • Limiting restaurants and bars to takeout only.
  • Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
  • Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
  • Closing outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
  • Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick-up.
  • Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pickup.
  • Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
  • Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
  • Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities.

Interactive: The 90 active COVID-19 workplace outbreaks in Oregon

RELATED: Gov. Brown orders two-week 'freeze' for Oregon starting Nov. 18

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