Tulsa City Councilors Draft Backup Plan To Reinstate Mask Mandate If Necessary

Friday, April 16th 2021, 9:44 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa city council members are making plans to reinstate Tulsa's mask mandate if necessary, after Mayor G.T. Bynum announced the mandate will likely expire on April 30.

Kara Joy McKee said she's drafting a plan alongside health experts to trigger a mask mandate again just in case COVID numbers begin to go up.

Low hospitalizations and COVID numbers are why Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said he feels good letting the mask mandate expire on April 30.

Council member McKee is still concerned and said many of her constituents are as well.

"I am sick of these [masks], but hesitant to let go of something that works so well when we're not out of the woods," McKee said.

McKee is working alongside the Tulsa Health Department and OSU Project ECHO to present a plan that would make it easy to trigger a mask mandate again in case the numbers start to rise.

She said COVID-19 variants are a big concern, and she wants the best data available to keep everyone informed. 

"We're looking at the right data to make sure, not only can we do a mask mandate again, but that we can do it fast," she said. "That we can do it fast enough to matter."

McKee is unsure if that would mean an emergency council meeting, or an automatic trigger for a new mandate.

Council member Jayme Fowler said the mandate expiring gives people a choice, but he will continue wearing his mask when the mandate expires.

"We're going to leave it to business owners and individuals to wear a mask," Fowler said.

Fowler said the council and mayor have used data to make all their decisions on the mask mandate and says this is no different. He also said most of his constituents don't want the mandate any longer.

"I've had more people asking to lift the mandate, to let it sunset," he said.

McKee said she'll bring her plan to the council on Wednesday, but there won't be a vote until likely later this month.