Council delays mask-mandate vote

Residents of Yukon will not be required to wear a mask when in public, at least not yet.
The city council, on Tuesday, postponed a decision on mandating the wearing of masks while in public.
The decision to delay the vote came after four of the five council members said they opposed such a requirement.
Mayor Shelli Selby, who placed the item on the agenda, was the lone council member to vote in favor of calling for a vote.
Selby said the proposed updated emergency proclamation was the recommendation of a task force she formed earlier this year to look at issues involving COVID-19 and Yukon.
The current emergency proclamation, which remains in effect, requires employees of bars and restaurants to wear masks while working.
However, the proposed proclamation would have required anyone who was in a public place to wear a mask.
Selby admitted that it would be hard to enforce such a requirement.
Council members Rick Cacini, Donna Yanda, Jeff Wootton and Aric Gilliland all opposed the proposal, saying it was the city government overstepping its authority.
Selby said the emergency proclamation update was not her idea, but the suggestion of the task force, which felt it was time for such a move.
She said the task force’s decision on the mandate was not unanimous, but all wanted the council to consider the proposal.
“If I had not brought forth that information they gave us that day and their request, I would be remiss in my duties as mayor,” she said. “I felt I had to bring that information here.”
Selby said she was being proactive at the request of the task force.
The request came after the number of active cases more than doubled in less than two weeks, she said.
On Tuesday, there were 203 active cases in Canadian County, Selby said.
That number is up from 101 just two weeks ago.
Selby said the number of cases included firefighters, dispatchers, police officers and animal control.
In addition, at least one local gym has been forced to close and the school district has reported several cases, Selby said.
Another concern, she said, is the number of hospital beds being utilized for COVID-19 cases.
Selby said Integris Canadian Valley President Teresa Gray had reported that all of that hospital’s available COVID-19 beds were full.
Each council member said they were concerned about the rising number of COVID cases, but didn’t feel it was the city’s job to require everyone to wear a mask.
They weren’t alone.
Several residents voiced their concerns, questioning whether wearing masks helps, pointing out that Oklahoma City and Norman both have mask requirements, but have not seen a decrease in cases.
Don Blose, chief executive officer for Spanish Cove Retirement Village, joined Selby in requesting the mandate, saying that his residents were afraid to shop in Yukon because of the lack of face mask requirements.
Cacini said America has survived epidemics before including polio and malaria.
“We didn’t shut down everything. We took precautions and then moved on. We never forced anybody to do anything. That’s really a problem when you start to force people to do things they don’t want to do,” Cacini said.

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