“Our employees are not police officers,” Some businesses not enforcing mask mandate

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Even though city leaders passed a mask mandate within Oklahoma City limits, officials say it is a tough thing to enforce.

On July 17,  the Oklahoma City Council approved an ordinance requiring face coverings in indoor public places.

But who is enforcing it?

“It’s really the individuals that have the responsibility of wearing the mask versus the businesses being the enforcement,” LToya Knighten, chief of government affairs at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, said.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department encouraged businesses to post signs on the door regarding the mask mandate.

“You will see a sign on every door that says masks are required for entry,” Laura Aufleger,
OnCue president, said.

But that doesn’t mean everyone is doing it, which has caused some problems at OnCue stores.

“There have been a number of instances of people being threatened and that kind of thing,” Aufleger said.

OnCue is not enforcing the mask policy, and they’re not alone.

“There have been so many crazy situations and strain they’ve been under. Our employees are not police officers,” Aufleger said.

The New York Times reports Walmart and Lowes tell employees not to confront people ignoring mask mandates.

But if an individual gets a complaint to the city’s action line, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department will investigate it.

“When we say enforcement, what we mean is our staff can come out to that location, talk to that individual, provide them with a mask, ‘Hey, you’re in the City of Oklahoma City limits,’” Knighten said.

Business owners and health officials hope people will choose kindness by choosing to wear a mask.

“It’s not about taking away freedoms. It’s not about trying to force people into doing something they don’t want to do. It’s really about preventing the spread of the virus in our community,” Knighten said.

“Please just show our people grace right now and kindness,” Aufleger said.

Aufleger said they will soon put hand sanitizer and complimentary face masks at the front of all of their stores for customers to take if needed.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department said it will take a couple more weeks with the mask mandate to see if it’s slowing the spread.

If you want to file a complaint, visit the City’s Action Center website.

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