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Multnomah County Won’t Soon Attempt a Vaccine Mandate at Bars or Venues

Deborah Kafoury says the county has no means to enforce such a rule.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury has no plans to require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations at bars, restaurants or event venues, she tells WW.

As the Delta variant erupts across Oregon, sparking the most new infections the state has seen in a single week, venue owners have called for the county to issue a vaccine mandate for indoor activities, similar to requirements in New York City and San Francisco.

Kafoury says the county has no means to enforce such a rule.

“For one local government in a metro region to quickly implement a widespread adult vaccine mandate when we currently have no enforcement mechanism or administrative structure in place would be incredibly challenging,” she tells WW. “That said, we are looking at all the potential ways we can increase vaccination and blunt this surge.”

On Aug. 17, Providence Park announced that only spectators with proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test result would be permitted to attend Timbers and Thorns soccer matches.

The same afternoon, Oregon Health Authority announced that 838 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s an 11% increase in a single day. The state has not provided recent figures for what percentage of hospitalized people are vaccinated, although Oregon Health and Science University says 27 of the 29 people in its hospital beds with COVID were unvaccinated.