Face mask order waived for people of color who fear profiling, Oregon county says

A county in Oregon is exempting people of color from its directive to wear face masks in public if they are worried about racial profiling or harassment.

Health officials in Lincoln County in Oregon issued the directive June 16 for all residents in public settings who cannot maintain a social distance of 6 feet inside or outdoors. The directive is meant to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Lincoln County had reported 292 COVID-19 cases and one death, as of June 23, according to Newsweek.

The directive includes several exemptions, including people of color who "have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public." Other exemptions include people with medical conditions that could be exacerbated by wearing a face mask.

People from the Black community have spoken out in recent weeks about the potential dangers that wearing face masks pose to them. In early June, STAT News reported that Black men are opting out of wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, fearing that they will face more harassment or violence from police.

More articles on public health:
COVID-19 activity by region: Where states are surging, reopening
Younger adults testing positive for coronavirus in more states
Clusters of coronavirus outbreaks emerge in bars, churches

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