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Oregon County Issues Coronavirus Mask Mandate, But Only For White People

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The mandate exempts “people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment” from wearing a mask. 

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Lincoln County, Oregon health officials issued a mandatory mask directive last week that exempts non-white people from wearing face coverings in an effort to avoid racial profiling.

The mandate gives exceptions from the new rules for certain people and groups including “people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment.”

Other exemptions applied to people with pre-existing health conditions that may be bothered by a mask, children under the age of 12, and people with disabilities directly related to wearing a mask. 

The health officials also ordered that the directive only required voluntary compliance and that no one of any stature may physically or legally enforce the mandate. 

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

Trevon Logan, a black economics professor at Ohio State University, told CNN that mask directives are “basically telling people to look dangerous given racial stereotypes that are out there.”

“It looks like almost every criminal sketch of any garden-variety black suspect,” he said.