OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Council struck down an ordinance that would have required masks in public places.
More than 20 residents spoke during a heated comment period which saw Mayor David Holt address the crowd twice.
At one point, assistance from security officers was requested, although no one was forcibly removed.
The ordinance was defeated 5-4. It uniquely required seven votes to pass.
Mayor Holt, along with Councilmembers Nice, Cooper and Hamon all voted yes.
Councilmembers Greenwell, Stone, Stonecipher, Young and Carter voted no.
Before the vote, Oklahoma City County Health Department COO Phil Maytubby gave an update on COVID-19 numbers.
When he said vaccination was the most effective way to keep from getting COVID-19, people in the crowd groaned and yelled in opposition.
Maytubby also faced scrutiny from City Councilman Bradley Carter on vaccines’ effectiveness.
“It doesn’t really make sense to me to push a vaccine at all,” Carter said to Maytubby.
“Vaccines work,” Maytubby responded. “They always have.”
During the public comment period, many residents expressed their opinions on a potential mask ordinance.
“We are free Americans we will not be tyrannized,” one commenter said. One mask supporter called for the city council to pass the ordinance, saying “This is a leadership test and you leaders are failing.”
One commenter told the council: “I think the comparison to Jim Crow is exact and it’s a good analogy; you’re overreaching.”
Nice later addressed the man’s comment.
“Jim Crow laws had to do with the color of someone’s skin and they are in no comparison to what we are talking about today,” Nice said. “I refuse to accept that conversation in anything that we’re talking about.”
Meanwhile, Holt is sounding the alarm on the metro’s hospitalizations.
When KFOR asked if Holt would enact a mask mandate himself, Holt’s office replied, “The emergency power given to a mayor is there to provide quick response in a life and death situation when there is not time for democratic process. Not only do we have time, the Council just voted against it. An assertion of emergency powers by a mayor solely to attempt to overrule a vote of the Council is literally an attempt to overthrow democracy.”
The council also voted on a resolution requesting the development of a vaccine promotion and incentive program using COVID relief funds. It needed a simple majority to pass but failed 5-4.