Ordinance Requiring Face Masks in Public To Be Considered During OKC Council Meeting


Wednesday, July 15th 2020, 10:53 am
By: Kaitlyn Hawpe


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said a new ordinance requiring masks to be worn in public places will be considered during a special meeting Friday in response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Mayor Holt said Councilman Mark Stonecipher plans to introduce the mask ordinance and believes it could help the city flatten the curve and lower the demand on hospitals, while still allowing the economy and employment rate to recover.

The City Council virtual special meeting will be at 1 p.m. Friday. The only item on the agenda will be the consideration of Stonecipher's ordinance.

Mayor Holt said he intends to vote in favor of the ordinance.

According to Oklahoma City spokesperson Kristy Yager in a news release sent Wednesday the potential requirements and enforcements to be discussed Friday are as follows:

Potential mask requirements

The Council could amend the proposed mask order before approving it. At a previously scheduled public meeting to be held Thursday, the Council will hear other public health recommendations from the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD). The Council may choose to incorporate some or all of those recommendations, which may be different from the proposed mask order on Friday’s agenda.

As currently proposed, the mask requirement would be for everyone in Oklahoma City age 6 and up, with some exceptions.

Masks would be required in indoor spaces open to the public, including private property.

Masks would be defined as any face covering which covers both the nose and mouth. Here are some general CDC recommendations about face coverings.

The City Council may still make changes, but exceptions to the mask requirement as currently proposed would be:

  1. Children under age 6, unless required by a school or daycare.
  2. People working in an office who don’t have face-to-face interactions with the public.
  3. Patrons of restaurants, bars and similar establishments while eating or drinking.
  4. People in settings where it isn’t practical or feasible to wear a face covering, like receiving dental services, swimming or playing at a sprayground.
  5. People engaged in sports (including for recreation) or cardio exercises.
  6. People inside any federal, state or county building or facility
  7. People inside a public or private school building or facility, unless required by the school.
  8. People at a religious service or ceremony where social distancing is observed between groups of people from different households.

If the Council approves the order with at least 7 of 9 votes, it will take effect immediately. If it passes with 5 or 6 votes, there will be a second hearing during the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday.

If the Council approves the order Tuesday with at least 7 votes, it would take effect immediately. If it passes Tuesday with 5 or 6 votes, it would take effect Aug. 21.

The mask order would expire Sept. 8 unless the Council extends it.

Enforcement

The ordinance allows for enforcement by the Police Department, or code inspectors from OCCHD and the City’s Development Services Department.

There’s a fine of up to $50 for a conviction on the first offense. The fine is up to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third.

People with a medical condition preventing them from safely wearing a mask can produce a document from their physician confirming that information, and will not be subject to a conviction and fine.