Broken Arrow Mayor Says No Mask Mandate In The Works

Nov 16, 2020

The city of Broken Arrow is unlikely to adopt a mandatory mask policy recommended by the county health department, according to Mayor Craig Thurmond.

"I do not see this council passing a mask ordinance at this time," Thurmond said in a video posted to Facebook on Friday.

In the video update, the only additional action shared by the mayor, beyond recommendations and encouragement, was the posting of signage by the city encouraging social distancing in parks and athletic facilities. 

Thurmond said he encourages Broken Arrow residents and businesses to follow CDC guidelines such as hand-washing, social distancing, avoiding contacts with those who are sick, and wearing masks. 

But at other points in the video, Thurmond recommends masks only when social distancing is not possible. That guidance is at odds with recommendations from the CDC, which says masking does not obviate the need for keeping a minimum of six feet of distance. The CDC on Tuesday also released a brief in favor of mask mandates, writing, "Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation."

The Trump White House also recommends the wearing of masks at all times in all public places in Oklahoma, as well as avoiding all gatherings beyond an individual's immediate household. 

Thurmond was one of many maskless officials in attendance at the Tulsa County Republican Party's indoor election night party in Broken Arrow, according to party chair Bob Jack.

The Broken Arrow City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday, with an agenda item described as a "Presentation and discussion regarding the COVID-19 Infection rate for Broken Arrow."