The Tulsa city council approves three measures Tuesday night aimed at making it easier to enforce COVID-web 19 measures and hopefully limit the spread of the virus.
The goal of the special meeting was to make it easier for the city to crack down on businesses or employers who repeatedly don't comply with preventative COVID-19 measures.
The first ordinance passed requires restaurants, stores, bars, and other employers defined in the ordinance to space 6 feet apart or unless they can use sanitized shields or barriers. It also requires people organizing gatherings of more than 150 people to submit a COVID 19 safety plan with the health department at least 14 days before the event.
The second ordinance changes the public nuisance code, which means the health department and nuisance enforcement officials can fine businesses or even shut repeat offenders down if they don't enforce mask mandates or other measures.
The council also wants to help businesses that feel defenseless in enforcing a mask mandate.
"Tonight we're saying, no, there will be code enforcement, there will be consequences, and ultimately the consequences are the rate of Covid is continuing to spiral," said City Council District 7 Member Lori Decter Wright. "And so we're taking those actions to say this is the least we can do right now."
MORE INFO FROM THE CITY:
This evening, the Tulsa City Council passed additional COVID-19 measures, which:
THD will work with entities of public accommodation to ensure compliance with City ordinances.
Businesses that do not take measures to comply with face covering, social distance, separation, or event requirements can be declared a public nuisance and will be subject to abatement and penalties.
The mask ordinance in the City remains the same. These newly passed ordinances build upon the City’s existing mask mandate, which requires a mask for all persons 10 years old and older in public settings and in places of public accommodation.
To report non-compliance with existing City ordinances regarding COVID-19 measures, visit www.tulsa-health.org/COVIDcomplaint. Residents should only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
Updated ordinances will be made available at www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID19. Additionally, a detailed list of FAQs and background on places of public accommodation will also be made available on that webpage.
“I want to thank leadership from so many of our surrounding communities and especially my colleagues on the Tulsa City Council for stepping up to help save lives and assist our strained healthcare system,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “I fully support these increased mitigation efforts for Tulsa and strongly encourage Tulsans to stay vigilant as we navigate through one of the most testing times of this pandemic. I will sign these measures into law at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, and am grateful for all the businesses and individuals who are doing their part to help mitigate the spread of this disease.”
“Many thanks to my colleagues on the Council, the Mayor, and City/Health Department staff for their efforts in crafting regulations to protect our community,” Council Chair Ben Kimbro said. “Local government is responsible for ensuring public safety. These ordinances were passed in the interest of saving lives; period. I ask the community to partner with the City and the Health Department to help stop the spread of this virus. We all need to work together to preserve the health of our fellow citizens, especially our most vulnerable.”
“I appreciate the City of Tulsa’s efforts to strengthen existing ordinances to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community, particularly our most vulnerable,” THD Executive Director Dr. Dart said. “The Tulsa Health Department remains committed to protecting the health and well-being of Tulsa County residents as well. Just as THD staff inspect local food establishments to ensure they are operating safely to prevent foodborne illnesses, our staff will now also help local businesses keep their employees and customers safe.”