Norman city council considering mandatory masks directive as cases surge

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – City leaders in Norman are discussing a possible mask ordinance Tuesday evening at a city council special session.

They’ll be meeting over Zoom conference with state and local health officials, including a representative from Norman Regional Health System.

The discussion comes the same day as 585 new confirmed cases were reported in the state, a record-breaker for daily new cases.

Norman City Councilmember Dr. Joe Carter said he think a mandate is definitely necessary to change the skyrocketing trajectory.

“Right now wearing a mask right now has become a political partisan issue, or a vanity issue, and there’s just no reason for us not to wear masks in public,” he said.

But with other governments around the country only using persuasion as an enforcement tool, people in Norman question how many would follow the rule.

“Enforcement? Unless you became a dictator government-type situation, I think it would be very difficult,” said Morris Walker, who does not believe their necessary yet. “I hope Norman does not become a dictator government situation.”

Whether or not it’s enforceable, Dr. Carter said he believes more people would follow the mandate and help prevent another round of business closures.

“We certainly don’t want to end up like Houston,” Dr. Carter said, “wait so long that we’re running out of hospital capacity before we start taking more aggressive measures.”

A spokesperson for the City of Norman said the mayor is considering an emergency proclamation, and that the majority of the council, five members, in order for it to pass.

She said the vote could happen next Tuesday, July 7.

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