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Mandating masks in Tulsa: Proposed ordinance has multiple exemptions

Masks to slow spread of coronavirus, file photo (damircudic/ E+/Getty Images)
Masks to slow spread of coronavirus, file photo (damircudic/ E+/Getty Images)
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TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – The proposed ordinance that would mandate masks be worn by Tulsans has a number of exemptions.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said last week that he's seeking an ordinance to require masks be worn in public to slow the spread of coronavirus.

He said Dr. Bruce Dart with the Tulsa Health Department alerted him that the "continued trend data indicates the need for an ordinance requiring face-covering in public places."

With coronavirus cases surging in Oklahoma and Tulsa County, this mask requirement is “a targeted” and “the least restrictive means” to slow the spread, according to the proposed ordinance.

The mask ordinance will go before the City Council on Wednesday.

There are a number of exclusions listed in the ordinance:

  • Anyone under 18 (though wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged)
  • Anyone with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • Anyone eating or drinking, or anyone seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
  • Anyone exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors while properly distanced from others
  • Anyone in the car with only people in their own household
  • Anyone conducting business that requires a temporary removal of the face-covering (for example, bank security requirements or someone getting dental work done)
  • Anyone who is swimming
  • Anyone who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or anyone actively administering an election
  • Anyone actively engaged in religious worship
  • Anyone speaking for a broadcast or to an audience
  • Anyone performing work where the mask presents or exacerbates a hazard

A first-time violation would lead to a warning. Subsequent violations could result in a $100 fine.

The mandatory mask ordinance would stay in effect until the city or state end their emergency orders put in place for the pandemic.

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