Oregon county's coronavirus mask order exempts 'people of color' who have 'heightened concerns about racial profiling'

Amid “heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment,” a county in Oregon is allowing its residents of color to be in public without coronavirus face coverings, according to reports.

Health officials in Lincoln County announced people of color are exempt from the new rule instituted last week.

“No person shall intimidate or harass people who do not comply,” health officials said.


The order is to add safety -- although experts are wary about new dangers considering given racial stereotypes.

“For many black people, deciding whether or not to wear a bandanna in public to protect themselves and others from contracting coronavirus is a lose-lose situation that can result in life-threatening consequences either way,” ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, said.

“This is in the larger context of black men fitting the description of a suspect who has a hood on, who has a face covering on,” Trevon Logan, an economics professor at Ohio State University, added. “It looks like almost every criminal sketch of any garden-variety black suspect.”


As of Monday’s case count, according to data on the state’s website, the total number of people who have tested positive for the deadly disease in the state is 7,083. In addition the state’s death toll has increased to 192 people.

Since the start of the pandemic, 206,381 people in Oregon have been tested for coronavirus.