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Watch Now: End of mask mandate doesn't mean 'mask-burning parties,' Mayor G.T. Bynum says
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Watch Now: End of mask mandate doesn't mean 'mask-burning parties,' Mayor G.T. Bynum says

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Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum addresses a news conference on Thursday, a day before the city’s mask mandate will be allowed to end.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum addresses the question April 29, 2021 as the city's mask ordinance is set to expire.

Tulsa’s mask mandate will end at midnight on Friday, but that does not necessarily mean residents should celebrate this weekend with “mask-burning parties,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said Thursday.

The end of the mandate does not mean the end of masks everywhere.

City facilities will continue requiring masks, as will the airport and 14 of Tulsa’s largest area attractions, including ahha Tulsa, Discovery Lab, Gathering Place, Gilcrease Museum, Oklahoma Aquarium, Philbrook Museum of Art, Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Garden Center at Woodward Park, Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Tulsa Symphony, Tulsa Zoo and the Woody Guthrie Center.

The ball is now in individual business owners’ courts, however, for them to make the call on whether requirement is right for their operation.

If faced with any customers who will not comply with their rules, business owners continue to have a fundamental right to call the Police Department to enforce the city’s trespassing ordinance, Bynum said.

The comments were made during a broadcast city and county COVID-19 briefing one day ahead of the ordinance’s expiration.

Bynum also issued an executive order that ended the requirement for restaurant or bar workers to wear masks, which was set to continue even when the mandate expired, but he said the civil emergency proclamation will remain in place, along with the city’s requirement that any events of 500 people or more have safety plans.

Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa Health Department, recommended business owners continue to follow the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Tulsa County is about halfway to herd immunity, Dart said, with about 31.5% of the population fully immunized against the virus, but it’s important residents not cease their efforts to increase that ratio.

The more people who are immune to the virus, the less chances it has to multiply, he said, effectively setting up roadblocks to community spread.

Vaccines are now so plentiful in the county they’re comparable to seasonal flu vaccines, Dart added, and even available without an appointment at the Community Vaccination Center in north Tulsa.

The site at Tulsa Community College’s Northeast campus, 3727 E. Apache St., is available for any person ages 16 and older from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Dart encouraged everyone able to get the vaccine to do so, and emphasized that while the agency is providing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine again, patients at their clinics can choose which vaccine they’d like to receive out of the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“Please do not wait,” Dart said, adding that the vaccine is completely free to everyone.

Bynum also urged those on the fence about receiving the vaccine or those against it to call their personal doctor and discuss their individual risks and benefits.

“This is the best thing that we as a community, each of us, can do to end this pandemic in Tulsa and in northeast Oklahoma,” Bynum said. “The challenge, I think, is...a lot of focus on why there’s some folks who don’t want to get it or won’t. But I really want to emphasize how grateful I am for all the people in our community who didn’t need to be begged; who recognized the value of it.”

Appointments can be scheduled through the state portal at vaccinate.oklahoma.gov, Saint Francis Health System’s portal at saintfrancis.com/alerts/covid-vaccine, or vaccinefinder.org.

 

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Staff Writer

I write because I care about people, policing and peace, and I believe the most informed people make the best decisions. I joined the Tulsa World in 2019 and currently cover breaking news. Phone: 918-581-8455

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