Stillwater mayor set to scale back bar capacity after video surfaces of college students packing clubs

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STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce announced Monday night he will be issuing an emergency order to scale back bar capacity to 50% and all customers must be sitting at a table to be served. 

Over the weekend, several videos were shared on social media showing OSU college students packing bars and clubs without masks and little social distancing. 

Monday night, Stillwater City Council held a meeting to discuss the city’s COVID-19 guidelines. 

“I believe this emergency order will help thin out the crowd and spread it out a little,” Stillwater mayor Will Joyce said. 

“The first thing on my mind is how in the world did it get that way?” bar owner Shawn Walls said. 

The infamous video was shot at Shawn Walls’ bar. Walls tells KFOR the capacity at one point became out of control. 

“I do think the 6 second video portrays something that didn’t happen in my business the whole night,” Walls said. “It’s one weekend and we will fix it.”

Oklahoma State University has issued their own classroom and campus guidelines with the start of the school year. 

According to the university, class sizes are cut in half, masks are mandatory, and plexiglass shields will be at the front of the room. 

Also, students can choose to learn completely virtual.

“It’s like a zoo with professors,” Associate professor Dr. Griffin Pivateau said. “We will be teaching the students who are least concerned about spreading the virus.”

Mayor Joyce says the new emergency order will likely be issued as early as Tuesday, August 18 and could last for up to a month. 

The city council can decide to extend the order at a later date. 

City officials also discussed Monday night potentially creating more outdoor experiences for dining and drinking, possibly blocking off sidewalks or parking lots. This decision will be discussed at next week’s meeting on Monday, August 24. 

OSU President Burns Hargis also weighed in on the weekend’s activities:

Oklahoma State University is disappointed in the behaviors exhibited by some of our students off campus over the weekend. Attending large dance parties where neither mask wearing nor social distancing occurred showed a clear disregard for the protocols set forth by both the university and the city of Stillwater. OSU and city officials have communicated behavior expectations to limit the spread of COVID19, and a successful, in-person instructional experience requires everyone to take personal responsibility. 
We ask that our students follow university and city protocols, avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing and wear masks, and appreciate the vast majority of those who are taking our guidelines seriously as evidenced by a .7% positive rate on move-in day. The in-person campus experience we all love here at OSU depends on it this semester.

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