UPDATE: Norman City Council considering mandatory face masks in public

Coronavirus

UPDATE: The Norman City Council passed the ordinance 8 to 1.

NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Norman City Council is considering an ordinance to require masks or face coverings in public in the City of Norman.

Council members spent more than two hours debating the issue and listening to public comments Tuesday night.

“We are trying to avoid a shutdown like we had the first time around when we tried to flatten the curve the first time,” said Mayor Breea Clark.

Clark pointed to the tens of thousands of college students returning to the University of Oklahoma’s campus in the fall, where masks are required campus-wide, as a reason to enforce masks citywide.

Some residents in attendance Tuesday said they refuse to wear one.

“I do not consent to being forced to wearing a mask. I don’t like the government pushing me around,” said Joe Shepard, a resident of Norman.

The mandate would allow exceptions for young children and those with medical reasons that would prevent them from wearing a mask.

Many call the mandate unconstitutional.

“I think it’s specifically government overreach,” said Ricky Stapleton, a Norman resident and small business owner.

Mayor Clark argued other states, like Texas and Kansas, have mandated masks statewide.

“People just get so caught up about the loss of their personal liberties that they forget that there are people in our population that are very vulnerable to this disease that can die,” said Taylor Rogers, a Norman resident.

Guthrie was the first city to mandate masks in the state of Oklahoma in April, but council members quickly rescinded the mandate in May after facing a lawsuit.

According to results given to KFOR from a recent study done by the City of Norman, most residents would be in favor of a mask mandate.

“To restrict and limit the way we live our lives and to mandate that is, to me, poor decision making,” said Stapleton.

“Wearing something to cover your face is the least that you can do,” said Rogers.

As of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the council had not yet voted on the mandate.

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