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New Mask Mandates: City Of Stillwater; Archdiocese of OKC

Chris Polansky
Tulsa's Golden Driller wearing a face mask on Wednesday, July 8th.

The City of Stillwater and the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City are the latest entities in Oklahoma to require the wearing of masks in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

The Stillwater City Council voted unanimously Thursday for an ordinance that requires face coverings to be worn in places like schools, churches, gyms, restaurants and bars, among others. 

"This sort of an ordinance where we're asking people, more people in the community to put their mask on [and] try to help slow the spread of this disease is the least onerous option," said Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce. "It is the easiest thing for all of us to do that does not include shutting down businesses, it does not include telling business owners what they can and can't sell."

Exemptions will exist for children under five, those with certain medical conditions, and others.

The ordinance is in effect until November 30th.

Also on Thursday, Archbishop Paul Coakley said face coverings would be required at all masses and church gatherings within the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

"It is a small act of charity that promotes the health and well-being of others and can help Oklahoma and the nation eventually emerge from this crisis," Coakley said in a statement.

By following these guidelines carefully, we will be able to continue to celebrate public Masses and receive the nourishment we need through Holy Communion.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes for Health has strongly pushed for local governments nationwide to mandate mask wearing. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has repeatedly said he encourages the wearing of masks but has vowed to never require them. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt have both so far rejected calls for a mandate.

Norman is the largest municipality in Oklahoma to have implemented a citywide mask requirement.

KOSU'S Ryan LaCroix contributed reporting.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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