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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The state’s largest city is looking into ending its mask mandate early. That’s what two Oklahoma City councilmen are hoping to vote for during the next city council meeting. 

“I just think the big fear is over. I think masks are no longer useful,” said Rusty Mulinix, who works in downtown Oklahoma City.

Ward 4 Councilman Todd Stone and Ward 8 Councilman Mark Stonecipher are behind the ordinance to end the mask mandate early. If approved, the city’s mask ordinance will expire on March 31 instead of April 30.

Councilman Todd Stone and Councilman Mark Stonecipher

Both Stone and Stonecipher are citing improved COVID-19 numbers. A release from the city says “test positivity rates have been below 5% for the past two weeks.”

Stone sent KFOR the following statement:

“The mask mandate was put in to effect in order to keep our hospitals and medical workers from being over-run. Our hospitalization numbers are now drastically lower than when the mandate started. Councilman Stonecipher and myself do not take this action lightly. We have been working with leaders in the medical community in order to ensure that the timing makes sense. We started with a scientific approach and need to continue to do so. Even without a mandate people should wear masks, maintain distance and wash their hands as appropriate. Private property owners will  still have the right to  require masks and their wishes should be respected.”

TODD STONE, WARD 4 COUNCILMAN

Mixed opinions were voiced at Scissortail Park on Thursday.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We’re almost there. Let’s just make it to the end to get through this. If it takes a couple of more months of wearing the mask, so be it. Let’s wear our mask,” said Alex Sanger, who is visiting Oklahoma City with his family.

“I’m vaccinated. A lot of people I know are vaccinated. And I have a little trouble understanding why I should continue wearing a mask when I’m fully vaccinated and somebody else is fully vaccinated,” Mulinix said.

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Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon

But not all the city council members appear to be in agreement. Ward 6 Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon took to Twitter, saying, “Maybe something has changed in the past two days that no one has told me, but this proposal goes against *all* public health recommendations I’ve seen.”

Ward 2 Councilman James Cooper also sent a statement to KFOR, which is as follows:

“Yesterday, PBS Newshour reported, ‘A new wave of infections is sweeping over much of Europe, and that’s prompted Germany to extend its lockdown measures by a month. Today’s announcement largely shut down the country through Easter and beyond.’ The report featured our country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who warns, ‘We generally are about three to four weeks behind the dynamics of the outbreak that we see in Europe. So, given that the Europeans are surging back up, that that is very clear that this is a risk that we will be doing the same thing if we don’t pull back.

And, in other words, we need to keep doing the public health measures that we talk about all the time.’

Because I want to avoid the same fate as our European neighbors, no, I don’t support lifting public safety measures at present.”

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Councilman James Cooper

Mayor David Holt weighing in on the city council vote. He spoke with KFOR on Thursday morning.

“It’s a heavy burden. It’s gonna be a super majority to pull it off early,” Holt said. “I think if that were to happen it would have to be the advice of the public health officials and others. That’s certainly who I’ll be consulting in the days ahead.”

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Mayor David Holt

The ordinance will need seven of nine city council votes to win approval.

Right now, Oklahoma City’s mask ordinance requires face coverings in public buildings open to the public.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage