Tulsa City Council Votes 7-2 to Approve Citywide Mask Ordinance; Ordinance Sent to Mayor Bynum for Signature
Wednesday evening, Tulsa City Councilors voted to approve a citywide mask ordinance with an emergency clause to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Tulsa. The ordinance requires the signature of Mayor Bynum before it will go into effect. Mayor Bynum plans to sign the ordinance at 9 a.m. on July 16, to give the Tulsa Police Department time to inform officers.
“I am very grateful for the broad support of the City Council in approving this important ordinance. Our local health care leaders made clear how important this is, and the City of Tulsa listened,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “This pandemic continues to present us with difficult decisions that no elected official would ever want to make, but we will continue to do what we have to do to protect our local health care system.”
Based on the ordinance, masks will be required for all individuals 18 years and older in the city limits of Tulsa who will be in public places where social distancing is challenging. These include, but are not limited to, places like grocery stores, retail stores and public areas where social distancing cannot be followed.
“We are extremely proud of the challenging decision our city leaders made today toward lessening the spread of COVID-19 in the City of Tulsa. Without these efforts, we will not see a sustained decrease in disease transmission,” Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart said. “The science is clear that the use of cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings. Wearing a mask not only considers others, but also allows us the freedom to go about our day during this new normal.”
Though there is no specific penalty for violation of this ordinance, persons refusing to wear a face covering into a Place of Public Accommodation, Educational Institution, or Public Setting shall be subject to prosecution under criminal trespass, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or similar offenses as circumstances warrant. The ordinance will be enforced by Tulsa Police. Those wishing to make non-compliance reports can do so by calling the Tulsa Police non-emergency number at (918) 596-9222.
Exceptions to the ordinance where masks aren’t required are as follows:
- Those who fall into the CDC’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical or mental health condition or developmental disability.
- Those who are eating or drinking.
- Those who are exercising in communal outdoor spaces, or persons walking or exercising with other persons from the same household in communal outdoor spaces, as long as physical distancing is maintained – persons congregating in communal outdoor spaces with other persons not in their same household are required to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not maintained.
- Those in settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, such as dental services, medical treatments or while swimming.
- Occupants in a personal vehicle, personal office, or similarly private space while other persons outside of the person’s household are not present.
- Those in their private homes.
- Those in offices and workplaces that are not public service areas where physical distancing between employees and other occupants can be consistently maintained during hours of operation.
The ordinance will expire on November 30, 2020, or when the expiration of all Civil Emergency Orders related to COVID-19 issued by the Mayor, or repeal, modification or extension by the City Council through a subsequent ordinance, whichever is sooner.
For more information about masks in Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/masks.
To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 5,626 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 4,435 residents have recovered and 79 have died. For the latest information on COVID-19 in Tulsa, visit: www.tulsa-health.org.