The Tulsa City Council got the mask mandate pretty much right last week.
The council voted 8-0 to lower the age requirement to wear masks in public places from 18 to 10.
It also extended the ordinance’s expiration date from Nov. 30 to Jan. 31.
Lowering the age is a manageable and prudent step and one driven by good science.
Masks are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, a deadly, communicable disease.
Last week, Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart reported that the city’s share of COVID-19 cases in the county has dropped about 7 percentage points since late August.
The city of Tulsa accounted for 59% of the county’s cases the week of Sept. 20 and 58.5% the week of Sept. 13. The city’s peak since the Tulsa Health Department began tracking data in this fashion since Aug. 2 was 66.1% the week of Aug. 23.
The city is about 61% of the county population.
What does the city of Tulsa have in this regard that the suburbs don’t? A mask ordinance.
Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso and other holdout suburbs would be wise to pay attention.
The two-month extension was obviously needed, but we’ll quibble with the need to set a calendar date for the ordinance to expire.
It seems inevitable that we’ll have to cross this bridge again in January. Does anyone expect the disease to have run its course by then?
Here’s a better idea. Repeal the ordinance when it is no longer needed.
That’s not only good government, but provides for a positive news opportunity: The chance for the City Council to celebrate Tulsa’s safe emergence from the pandemic’s cloud. We’ll all take off our masks and cheer.
Still, we congratulate the eight councilors who voted for the mask mandate’s extension and its broadening: Vanessa Hall-Harper, Jeannie Cue, Crista Patrick, Kara Joy McKee, Cass Fahler Lori Decter Wright, Phil Lakin and Ben Kimbro. And we ask the member missing from that vote, Councilor Connie Dodson, where she was when her constituents’ health was one the line.
The eight showed leadership and wisdom, which are Tulsa’s greatest resources for fighting a deadly disease.
Featured gallery: COVID-19 basics everyone needs to know as the pandemic continues
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