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Norman Makes Face Masks Mandatory

Norman City Council members vote on an ordinance requiring the wearing of masks in public over Zoom videoconference on July 7, 2020.

Starting immediately, face masks must be worn in the City of Norman.

The Norman City Council adopted an ordinance late Tuesday night that requires the use of face coverings in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The vote comes as Oklahoma had its highest daily increase of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, with 858 new cases.

The ordinance requires a face covering to be worn in places offering goods, services or items to the public, places where employees interact with the public and public places where people congregate. Capacity limitations and social distancing requirements for restaurants and bars are also included in the ordinance.

Kathryn Walker, city attorney for the City of Norman, said during the special session that there isn’t a specific penalty for not wearing a mask, but instead, penalties would be based on the patron's behavior.

"If you’re denied entry because you refuse to wear a mask and you just get in your car and go home, no issues there," Walker said. "If you create a scene - if you’re yelling or screaming or some of these things we’re seeing going viral across the country - that’s when the police may be called."

People exempt from the face-covering requirement include children under the age of six, individuals who are engaged in high-intensity activities and people with certain disabilities or medical conditions. Activities exempt from the face-covering requirement include while eating or drinking, or while receiving dental or medical treatment or services.

The emergency ordinance is effective immediately and will expire on November 30, unless appealed or modified by the council.

On Monday, Stillwater City Council advanced a similar ordinance requiring face masks to be worn in public. A second reading must take place before going into effect and that will take place Thursday evening.

The mayors of Oklahoma CityTulsa and Yukon each issued new executive orders last week requiring restaurant and bar employees to wear face masks while working. Oklahoma City and Yukon also reduced capacities of bars to 50 percent, while Tulsa now requires events planned on or after July 16 with more than 500 people to seek guidance from and share safety plans with the Tulsa Health Department.

Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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