Stillwater News

Ordinance No 3452 for face coverings

Released:Jul 10, 2020

Notes:

  • City Council has passed Ordinance 3452 requiring face coverings in public spaces. The ordinance is effective Saturday, July 11 through Nov. 30, 2020.

  • Stillwater is in Phase 3 of the Open Up & Recover Safely Plan (OURS) 

  • The Mayor’s Emergency Proclamation of June 1 is still in effect through July 15. Read the proclamation.

  • Check back frequently for more information and guidance. 


What does Ordinance 3452 require?

Section 14-3 of the ordinance reads as follows: " Except as otherwise provided herein, persons located within Public Service Areas of Places of Public Accommodation or an Educational Institution are required to wear face coverings at all times when present therein. Except as otherwise provided herein, persons in any Public Setting wherein Social or Physical Distancing cannot be maintained are required to wear face coverings.” Click here to view Ordinance No. 3452 in full.

What is an acceptable face covering?

Acceptable face coverings include R95, KN95, dust masks, procedural masks, cotton bandanas, neck gaiters, running buffs and some tightly woven scarves. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

How long will the face covering ordinance remain in effect?

The face covering ordinance will expire November 30, 2020, unless it is extended or repealed by the City Council before that date.  Also, the ordinance will automatically terminate when there is no active COVID-19 related emergency declaration issued by the Mayor.

Why is the City of Stillwater adopting a face covering ordinance?

COVID- 19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans and can spread from person to person. The current scientific understanding of this virus from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that it spreads mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. These respiratory droplets can land in the mouths or on noses of nearby people or can possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within six feet). Currently there is no vaccine, treatment, or cure for COVID-19.

The transmission of COVID-19 remains a significant threat to the health and safety of the Stillwater community and rates of infection are increasing at an alarming exponential rate.  Health experts agree that implementing protective health measures such as social distancing and face coverings help in reducing the rate of transmission of the virus.

The number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in Stillwater has increased from 22 on June 8, 2020 to 391 as of July 8, 2020. SMC reports that there are presently five persons hospitalized in Stillwater for COVID-19.  This number was zero on June 8, 2020. At the same time the number of confirmed cases statewide has more than doubled and hospitalizations are up more than three hundred percent.

July and August are the months that students and faculty return to Stillwater to begin the fall semester at Oklahoma State University.  Significant numbers of these persons will be arriving from COVID-19 hotspots such as Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and North Texas. Contact tracing in relation to the June 2020 outbreak indicated that the return of students was one of the primary causes of the spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Stillwater. Visit the State Health Department’s Dashboard.

Are there exceptions to the face covering ordinance?

Yes, these are listed below:

  • Persons who cannot wear one due to a physical or mental condition;
  • Children under five, unless required by school or day care to wear a face covering;
  • Persons seated at a restaurant while eating;
  • While receiving services where wearing the mask is impractical such as dental services, a facial at a salon, swimming or using a splash pad;
  • While alone in a motor vehicle, office, or private space;
  • Persons exercising in communal outdoor spaces, or persons walking or exercising with other persons from the same household in communal outdoor spaces, as long as Physical Distancing is maintained;
  • Private homes;
  • Non-public areas of offices or workplaces where physical distancing is possible; and
  • At schools pursuant to adopted policies.

Does the face covering ordinance apply to non-public areas?

Face coverings are not required in any non-public area such as a private office or work area as long as the persons present are able to maintain physical distancing from others not from the same household.

What is a "Public Service Area?"

Those areas of a store or service provider where the public transacts business. 

Some examples:

  • The aisles where products are displayed for purchase and check out area of a retail store;
  • The waiting room and service areas of a beauty salon or barbershop;
  • Ticketing, concession and seating areas of theatres and sports venues;
  • Waiting areas, seating areas and tables at restaurant and bars;
  • Lobbies, meeting rooms and hallways in hotels;
  • Showrooms and waiting areas in automobile dealerships.

What is a "Place of Public Accommodation?"

Most of the stores and service providers in town.  It is impossible to list all, but here are some examples:

  • Retail and department stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Farm stores
  • Boutiques and Jewelers
  • Clothing stores
  • Sporting goods and apparel stores
  • Antique stores
  • Art studios
  • Craft Stores
  • Furniture and home stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Liquor stores
  • Tobacco and vaping stores
  • Beauty salons
  • Barbershops
  • Spas and tanning salons
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Movie theatres
  • Bowling alleys
  • Skating Rinks
  • Restaurants
  • Bars and taverns
  • Hotels and motels
  • Travel agencies
  • Florists
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Law offices
  • Accountant offices
  • Engineering firms
  • Financial consultant firms
  • Automobile dealerships
  • Tractor and agricultural supply dealerships
  • Motorcycle dealerships
  • Automobile repair shops
  • Tire dealers

What is an "Educational Institution"?

Stillwater Public Schools, Meridian Technology Center and all private schools and pre-schools.  This definition does not include Oklahoma State University or Northern Oklahoma College.

What is a "Public Setting?"

Any public place where people congregate that does not fit the definition of Public Accommodation or Educational Institution. These places can be either indoors or outdoors in certain circumstances.  Examples include:

  • Offices
  • Workplaces
  • Places of religious worship and fellowship halls
  • Fraternal organization halls and facilities
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Medical, psychiatric and dental clinics
  • Gymnasiums and physical fitness facilities
  • Ballfields and courts
  • Golf courses and clubhouses
  • Sidewalks and trails
  • Parks
  • Swimming pools and splash pads
  • Food trucks and other itinerant merchants?

Ordinance 3452 Hotline

To report non-compliance or to ask questions about Ordinance 3452, call 405.533.8533.


Information for businesses

Business and still need to follow the guidelines set for the Emergency Proclamation of June 1. See the guidelines.

Ordinance 3452 outlines requirements and guidelines for places of public accommodation, educational institutions and indoor public settings under Sec. 14-4 and 14-5.

  • Shall post signage at all entrances stating that face coverings are required. The City is providing this signage for free—download it here or stop by the Stillwater Municipal Building at 723 S. Lewis St.
  • May deny entry to any member of the public who refuses to wear a face mask. Businesses may use the City’s hotline (405.533.8533) to report non-compliance.

Are my employees and staff required to wear face coverings at all times?

Employees and staff are required to wear face coverings whenever they are working in an area where they will interact with the public when the public is present. 

Face coverings must be worn in offices and work areas not open to the public whenever social and physical distancing cannot be maintained.  

What happens if I refuse to put up a sign or deny entry to persons who aren't wearing face coverings?

It depends on the amount of harm that is caused by refusing to comply.  The intent of the ordinance is to encourage everyone to wear a face covering to reduce the spread of a deadly virus, not to punish violators. Rather than designate a specific penalty for non-compliance, the City Council, recognizing that most businesses in Stillwater are operated by hard-working, responsible citizens, left that decision to these persons. If a business or other place that is subject to the face covering ordinance engaged in conduct that is likely to facilitate the spread of COVID-19, the City can pursue regulatory or other civil actions to stop the conduct.

For example, a popular restaurant or bar regularly admits customers without face coverings while making no provision for social distancing.  Through contact tracing of verified COVID-19 cases, it is determined that customers frequenting the restaurant or bar are the source of exposure to others that have tested positive for the virus.  The City could go to public health officials or other regulatory agencies and seek the revocation of licenses and permits for violation of health codes. Another option might be citing the business as a “public nuisance” in municipal or state court or through action by the City Council.      


Information for individuals

Do I have to wear a face covering in public?

Yes. You are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing when you are in public.  Starting July 11, all public spaces, including educational institutions, food services, retail and personal service establishments in Stillwater will require visitors to wear a face covering in order to enter their business premises and receive services. 

Exceptions include:

  • Persons who cannot wear one due to a physical or mental condition;
  • Children under five, unless required by school or daycare to wear a face covering;
  • Persons seated at a restaurant while eating;
  • While receiving services wearing the mask is impractical such as dental services or a facial at a salon;
  • Persons exercising in communal outdoor spaces, or persons walking or exercising with other persons from the same household in communal outdoor spaces, as long as Physical Distancing is maintained;
  • While alone in a motor vehicle, office, or private space;
  • Private homes;
  • Non-public areas of offices or workplaces where physical distancing is possible; and
  • At schools pursuant to adopted policies;
  • While swimming or using a splash pad.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I go to a restaurant?

Yes, a face covering is required when entering a restaurant.  When you are sitting at the table and/or eating or drinking, you may remove your face covering.  However, when getting up to visit the restroom or leaving the restaurant, you will be required to put it back on.

Should I still practice social distancing while exercising outdoors?

Yes, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others while engaging in physical activities, even when outdoors, reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Do people need to wear face coverings while working out in a gym?

Only if they cannot maintain 6 feet of separation from non-household members in the gym.

I have a reason I cannot wear a face covering. Am I required to document or prove that?

No, the ordinance does not require you to document or prove a reason for not wearing a face covering. If a business won’t allow you to enter their office or store, ask them what accommodations they can provide such as curb-side pick-up, delivery or virtual meeting options.

Should I say something if someone near me isn’t wearing a face covering?

No. Someone may have a medical reason for not wearing a face covering. Whether those around you are wearing face coverings or not, focus on keeping 6 feet of distance between you and washing your hands often.

Face coverings are expensive and sometimes hard to find. Any help here?

The City of Stillwater has purchased a limited quantity of temporary face coverings for free distribution to Stillwater businesses and other places that fall under the ordinance. These coverings are available at Visit Stillwater or the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. The City’s purchase of community face coverings and funding for the public awareness campaign will be 100% reimbursed by FEMA.

What should I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?

Nothing. Some people have conditions or circumstances that would make wearing a cloth face covering difficult or dangerous. Just wear your mask and stay six feet away.

What happens if I refuse to wear a face covering as required by the ordinance? Is there a penalty?

It depends on the circumstances.  If you go to a business or other place that is covered by the ordinance without a face covering the manager has the right to ask you to either put on a face covering before entering or leave.  If you refuse to do either, the manager can, at his or her sole discretion, call the police and an officer will be dispatched to assist.  If you still refuse to comply with the face covering requirement, the manager can sign a complaint and the police officer will issue you a citation for trespassing and direct you to leave immediately. If you cause a disturbance, threaten or use physical violence to enter, you can be charged accordingly.  If you escalate the situation to the point that you receive a citation or are arrested, the City Attorney’s Office will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

Is wearing a face covering safe? It feels hard to breathe when I wear one.

While some people have health conditions that make face coverings unsafe, they are safe for nearly all of us, even if they feel uncomfortable at first and take a while to get used to. Public health experts agree face coverings are an important tool in preventing COVID and research is increasingly suggesting widespread use is effective. Make sure your face covering covers your mouth and nose but isn’t overly tight or restrictive. Choose a soft fabric such as cotton knit or use a bandana or scarf if that feels more comfortable. Visit CDC’s website to learn how to ensure your face covering is worn properly: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Oklahoma, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?

Based on our most recent research, the USCCA has identified just two states with statutes against carrying a concealed firearm while wearing a mask: California and Illinois (although sheriffs and county prosecutors in Illinois have made statements indicating that wearing a mask to protect others from COVID-19 while carrying a gun isn’t illegal as long as the wearer isn’t wearing the mask while committing a crime). Due to the large number of inquiries, some states have publicly addressed their laws regarding wearing masks actually refer to individuals concealing their identity with the intention to commit illegal acts or to specifically hide their identity, and do not address wearing a mask while legally carrying a concealed firearm. The following statute was identified in Oklahoma, although it makes no mention of concealed carry.

  • Tit. 21, Section 1303. It is a felony to commit an assault with a dangerous weapon while masked or in disguise.

How the City of Stillwater is responding

Together with Oklahoma State University and the Stillwater Public Schools, the City is working closely with the State Department of Health, the Stillwater Medical Center and other public agencies to coordinate precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our citizens. Since March, the City has distributed more than 1,500 cloth face coverings donated by citizens.

The Stillwater Municipal Building (City Hall) at 723 S. Lewis St. is open and is being aggressively sanitized and disinfected. Entrances and exits have been optimized to maintain social distancing. The use of face coverings is required within the Stillwater Municipal Building, the Stillwater Community Center, and the Stillwater Public Library. Face coverings are distributed at city hall for those doing business with the City. Informational posters on handwashing and COVID-19 prevention information are posted in high traffic areas.

Updates on city offices, services, and facilities are outlined here and posted on social media platforms including Facebook @CityOfStillwater and Twitter @StillwaterOKgov.

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