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Vinita Joins List Of Green Country Municipalities With Mandatory Mask Ordinances

City of Vinita
Members of the Vinita City Council watch a public comment from Dr. Terry Horton at a meeting on Dec. 15.

The Vinita City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a mandatory mask ordinance similar to the ones adopted by Tulsa, Jenks, and other Green Country municipalities meant to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to the Oklahoma State Medical Association, which supports mask mandates on both the local and state levels, Vinita is now one of at least 33 municipalities in the state to have enacted such an ordinance.

Dr. Terry Horton said Vinita's Saint Francis Hospital was struggling under the weight of the pandemic.

"Sometimes when you're watching TV you have a little trouble believing that things are as bad as you hear. I just wanted to make sure that everybody understands that it is as bad as you hear," Horton said. 

"Our little hospital out here has been full almost all the time here over the last several weeks," Horton said. "Last week, we had five patients waiting in the emergency room for a bed, which has never happened."

Dr. Jandra Korb, a Vinita dentist, said she feels more comfortable doing her shopping in places like Tulsa that have mandates in place.

"I'm going to get in my car and I'm going to drive to Tulsa and I'm going to spend my money there where I'm more safe," Korb said. "So, if nothing else, look at it from an economic standpoint. I would much prefer to save lives and keep people healthy."

The measure passed 5-2, with Councilors Dale Haire and Terry Young voting against and Councilor Denver Davenport absent from the meeting.

According to OSMA, Vinita joins Tulsa, Jenks, Sapulpa, Tahlequah, Claremore, Glenpool, Sand Springs, Grove and Muskogee on the list of Green Country municipalities with mask mandates in place. 

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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