The Jenks City Council voted 4-3 to approve a citywide mask mandate on Tuesday.
Jenks Mayor Robert Lee said as of Tuesday, there are 112 active cases with 12 people in the hospital. Since the pandemic began, 956 people have recovered and nine have died.
The mandate is for those ages 10 and up and will be in effect until January 31. It can be repealed, modified or extended by the council at any time. The mandate is for all businesses offering a public service such as restaurants, shops and bars. They said masks would not be required as long as a safe distance can be maintained.
Some of the councilors said the mandate would be really difficult to enforce. Others believe it’s necessary to help stop the spread and they’re still discussing if it’s practical for the city.
Jenks Police Chief Cameron Arthur said a mandate would also help keep those on the front lines safe. He said two of his officers currently have COVID-19. Many, however, believe a mandate might negatively impact small businesses in Jenks.
"I just think it's going to hurt the economy, I think it's stepping on peoples' rights," Jenks parents Gerald Schell said.
Lee said masks are the best tool we have to protect against the virus.
"It's been said that this action tonight is somehow a first step to a future lockdown of some kind," Mayor Lee said. "There have been no discussions of this, and on the contrary, this action tonight will make it less likely that we will have to take further steps like we saw in the spring."