Norman City Council Approves Face Mask Mandate

Wednesday, July 8th 2020, 7:06 am

Norman -

The Norman City Council has approved a new ordinance that requires people to wear face masks.

Starting immediately, Norman residents must wear a face mask inside businesses that serve people and other public settings where social distancing is difficult until possibly November 30th.

Read Related: Norman City Council Passes Temporary Ordinance Requiring Facial Coverings

There are exceptions, like children under the age of 6 or those with disabilities, if someone is swimming or doing an intense activity or when eating or drinking.

The city says it will make signs for businesses announcing the mandate and owners will be required to post those.

City council members approved the ordinance in an 8 to 1 vote, but many residents spoke out at the meeting saying they disagreed with the mandate. Others said they thought the new regulations would protect the most vulnerable and their families. 

A similar mandate has only been put in place in a few cities in Oklahoma, like Guthrie. Eventually some residents and business owners there filed a federal lawsuit, but just days later the city council voted to let the mask mandate expire.

News 9 asked those at the meeting about the potential legal ramifications.

"Entire other states have mandated this, and it hasn't been deemed unconstitutional yet," said Norman Mayor Breea Clark. "And the U.S. Supreme Court did rule on our restrictions regarding churches and businesses and found that constitutional. And I think that could be a precedent you could point to."

Mayor Clark voted to approve the ordinance and just before the vote said she hopes her city sets a precedent. 

"I'm just hoping like with the shut down, Norman started it and the rest of the state followed," said Mayor Clark. So, I hope other mayors are listening. I hope Governor [Kevin] Stitt is listening, because by god if Texas can do it we can too."

She also publicly called out mayors across the state and Governor Stitt on Twitter ending the tweet saying "Who's next, #Oklahoma?"

Governor Stitt has said in the past he will leave it up to the individual to decide if they want to wear a mask or not. 

Since Tuesday night, no public comments have been made by the governor or the other mayors Mayor Clark mentioned in her tweet.