Portland Daily Round Up: Oregon lifts outdoor mask mandate, ZooLights returns to the Oregon Zoo

Emily Scarvie

(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Nov. 24 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Oregon lifts outdoor mask mandate effective immediately

Oregon health officials announced Tuesday that the state’s outdoor mask mandate, originally implemented in August during a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, has been lifted effective immediately. The mask mandate for indoor public settings remains in place.

“Although the COVID-19 landscape has markedly improved, we aren’t at a point where we can consider relaxing the guidance on wearing masks in indoor public settings. The Delta variant remains a significant threat to all of us, especially to the 1 in 5 vulnerable Oregonians,” Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said.

After OHA’s announcement, the Oregon Department of Education said school leaders will decide whether students will wear face coverings outside on school campuses.

2. ZooLights returns to the Oregon Zoo with walk-thru and drive-thru experiences

ZooLights is back at the Oregon Zoo this year with both walk-thru and drive-thru experiences. The annual light show is a fundraiser for the zoo during the slower winter months, and workers say that support is needed now more than ever.

“We really appreciate the community’s support that we receive both when we were closed for the pandemic and as we’ve been rebuilding. We’re still not back to where we were before the pandemic and events like ZooLights really help us out,” Krista Swan told KATU. “It helps keep the zoo running and keeps it accessible for the whole community. When you come to ZooLights and buy tickets or you buy food, all that money is coming to the zoo to keep our mission going.”

ZooLights runs through Jan. 9 and tickets must be reserved in advance. Despite Oregon’s outdoor mask mandate being lifted, the Oregon Zoo is still requiring visitors to wear masks for the time being.

3. Parking at Oregon's state parks will be free the day after Thanksgiving

State parks in Oregon and Washington are once again waiving parking fees the day after Thanksgiving, a yearly tradition aimed at encouraging people to get outside rather than go shopping. Visitors will be able to park for free on Friday at 25 state parks that typically charge a $5 parking fee. This includes popular sites like Silver Falls and Smith Rock State Park.

The fee-free day is called Green Friday in Oregon. Parking is free year-round at most of Oregon’s state park sites.

4. Here's what's open and closed on Thanksgiving this year

With the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, many government offices and services will be closed on Thursday and Friday. U.S. Postal Service offices will be closed, with no regular mail service, on Thursday. Most banks will also be closed Thursday.

In Portland, TriMet buses, MAX and streetcars are running on Sunday schedules on Thursday and the Westside Express Service, as well as the Portland Aerial Tram, have no service. Parking meters in the city will be free on Thursday.

For more closures and service changes, click here.

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