Citizens of Seminole petition against proposed mask ordinance

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) –

Residents of Seminole took to the city hall steps Monday evening to sign a petition against a proposed mask ordinance in the city.

Masks have been a debate since the beginning of the pandemic.

“These masks are a lot like trying to keep mosquitos in or out with a chain link fence,” said Kathy Renbarger. The organizer of the protest and petition.

“Masks are very, very effective,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler. Chief COVID-19 officer for OU Medical Center. one of the most effective interventions we have currently to prevent the spread of COVID.”

Dr. Dale Bratzler with OU Med pointed to studies from the Lancet journal. He said the study showed after testing 25,000 patients, masks stopped transmission of the virus by up to 85 percent. He said social distancing helps that number even more.

“When you wear a mask, it stops those droplets from coming out of your mouth,” Bratzler said. “That’s what’s carrying the virus that gets into the air that actually can affect other people.”

Without a vaccine, Bratzler added that it’s all we have at the moment.

“There is no other effective intervention at this point,” he said.

Seminole resident Kathy Renbarger has formed a petition for people to sign that is against the ordinance.

“I don’t have an issue with people wearing masks, I just have an issue with it being forced,” Renbarger said.

According to Renbarger she passed out 200 flyers to Seminole citizens Thursday and Friday. So, some citizens met her at the steps of the Seminole City Hall to sign it ahead of the council’s meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s an individual freedom,” said Brian Shirley, a Seminole resident. “This is a slippery slope that we go down, I mean where does it stop.”

Brian Shirley said he doesn’t see enough danger within the county right now to pass an ordinance.

“It just seems that this is an overreaction,” he said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health shows Seminole County with 72 total cases. Three people have died and 40 have recovered.

However, Dr. Bratzler warns that this could only be the beginning if something isn’t done about it right now.

”When is the last time during a flu season you saw hospitals or communities renting refrigerated trucks to keep the bodies in,” Bratzler said. “That just doesn’t happen with the flu.”

The city council is set to discuss the proposed ordinance Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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