Correction: The original story had the incorrect vote tally from the meeting. It has been corrected.
ENID, Okla. (KFOR) – Enid city leaders passed a mask mandate unanimously Tuesday night after they failed to pass a mandate on two previous occasions.
To put it in perspective, Enid’s highly contentious mask mandate comes almost five months after Oklahoma City’s. The passing of the mandate came after a five-hour heated debate during the marathon city council meeting.
The Enid Police Department also spoke out Wednesday night, saying in a Facebook post saying anyone refusing could be prosecuted for violations such as trespassing, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. However, not everyone’s on board as residents are still trying to get used to the mandate passing.
“It sucks,” Mark Alvarado said. “Putting a mask on is like somebody putting their hand over my mouth.”
Other residents said they were more indifferent on the subject.
“I like to keep the peace,” Saige Kinsey said. “I’m not big on it, but if I have to wear one, I’m not going to throw a fit about wearing one.”
Corey Keller, an Enid resident and business owner, gave a public comment during the meeting, calling upon city leaders to pass the mandate.
“Sometimes caring for your community means actually caring for someone more than you care for yourself. I believe it is 100 percent our job to look after our community and its needs,” Keller said. “If there are people becoming sick and dying in our community, then we need to do what we can to prevent that. That is a community. That’s what communities do. This should not be an us versus them issue, this should be a let’s protect our community issue.”
The council passed the mandate this time around. Ben Ezzell is a councilmember who has been in favor of a mandate since late summer. He said he’s worried the city of Enid is on the brink of disaster.
“We as the City Council failed to do the right thing and our community is paying for it,” Ezzell said.
Enid has the eighth highest number of cases in the state, with 3,696 cases confirmed. Of the 37 total deaths in Garfield County, 35 of them lived in Enid.
“Enid’s in a crisis. Our hospitals are over capacity, we have infection rates that are through the roof,” Ezzell said.
Local healthcare workers in the city also spoke out.
“We’re asked to work extra hours on top of extra hours,” said Jerilyn Brandenburg, a nurse in Enid. “We leave our own families to be able to do that.”
Brandenburg has been doing her job for 20 years and said the hospitals and the frontline fighters inside it are struggling to keep up.
“Sometimes we don’t have enough health care workers to go around for the amount of people that we have,” Brandenburg said.
However, other residents don’t agree with it being passed.
“I don’t like it and I don’t abide by it,” Alvarado said.
The mandate is set to expire Feb. 28, 2021, unless the city council votes to extend it.
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