TULSA, okla. – According to the city of Tulsa, the Tulsa City Council unanimously approved a mask mandate from the age of 10 on Wednesday.
The ordinance expires on January 31, 2021, or when the mayor’s emergency orders expire, officials said. The Council could also repeal, amend or approve a new regulation in its entirety.
The change requires Mayor Bynum’s signature before it goes into effect. Bynum is expected to sign the ordinance on Thursday.
“I am grateful for the broad support of the city council in approving this important change to our Mask Ordinance,” said Mayor GT Bynum. “Our local health leaders have made it clear the importance of more children wearing masks, especially when they return to the classroom. This change is critical at a time when we must continue to ensure the integrity of our local healthcare system. “
Masks are required for anyone age 10 or older in Tulsa who will be in public places, including:
- Super Market
- Retail stores
- public areas where social distancing cannot be followed
Some exemptions from the regulation are team sports activities that make wearing a face mask impractical, officials said. Everything else from the existing Mask Ordinance, which the city council passed in July, remains the same.
During a recent city council meeting, Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, said COVID-19 cases in children ages 0-17 have increased. Dr. Dart said it was due to outbreaks in schools across Tulsa County. Therefore, he asked the city council to reduce the age of the mask mandate to 10 years.
READ MORE: Tulsa Health Department recommends that city council require masks for children 10 years and older
“I am grateful for today’s decision by the city council to lower the age of the Tulsa city mask mandate,” said Dart. “Our local health data shows that the fastest growth rate for COVID-19 cases is currently occurring in children in the age group 5-17 years. Masks are a proven step to slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive measures and social distancing in public settings. “
This new regulation will not bring much change for Eric Frazier’s family.
“Throughout the pandemic and all, we got our kids to wear masks in restaurants and all that,” Frazier said.
Xiniqua Fritz said while endorsing masks, she thinks the new prescription age is too young.
“I could see 12, 13, but 10, that’s elementary school age,” she said. “These children are still fast-paced, moving up to and including things. So, masks, I feel like it’s a little complicated. “
Fritz’s son is only nine years old, but in many places he already has to wear a mask, which is difficult with his asthma and prevents them from going out a lot.
“We just left the library and they had to wear masks,” said Fritz. “And I just thought it just doesn’t make sense because they want to be free, they want to run, they want to do things. And they can’t because it’s like an obstacle. “
Frazier said his family isn’t getting out much either and has struggled through the pandemic. He said we all have to help each other.
“We all have to do it together too,” said Frazier. “We can’t just do it individually. We all have to come together and do what we have to do to keep it up.”
The Health Care Association Coalition wrote a letter to Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum and city council members to support the renewal of the mask mandate for children ages 10 and older.
Our respective groups represent thousands of government health care providers who are on the front lines in the fight against this invisible and deadly virus. Our members have seen firsthand the consequences of this disease and we now ask for your support in extending the current Tulsa face mask mandate to all over 10s.
Health Association Coalition
You can find more information about masks in Tulsa here.
For more information on COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County, please visit here.
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