BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Broken Arrow City Councilors discussed recent COVID data and mask mandates at a meeting Tuesday night.
Data provided in the meeting from the state and Tulsa health departments showed the new infection rate is significantly higher in Broken Arrow compared to Tulsa. That data is concerning some citizens who are calling for a mask mandate.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are not wearing masks," said Jason Coan, a Broken Arrow resident in favor of a mask mandate. "And that’s resulting in a lot of other people seeing that so they too in turn are not wearing masks.”
The data numbers don’t appear to sway Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond. He said he has an issue with telling people what to do.
“As citizens, as people, we have that responsibility to take care of ourselves and take care of those that we care about," Mayor Thurmond said. "And I don’t think we need a law to do that .”
More than 200 BA residents signed a letter they sent to the council, asking for a mandate. They cited reasons such as preventing the spread of the virus and keeping people safe.
“My concern is the grocery store clerk stocking the shelves with somebody coughing over them that’s standing right next to them not wearing a mask," Coan said. "Or the healthcare worker that sees people coming in and out of stores and them being stressed out at work because of the number of covid cases.”
Their request sparked another petition signed by more than 600 people against a mandate. Several citizens also spoke out against a mandate at the meeting. They said people should have the right to choose and, sometimes, health issues prevent them from wearing a mask.
“Not all conditions are visible," one citizen said at the meeting. "And for a complete stranger, heck even my friends, to put you down because you can’t wear a mask, it’s unacceptable.”
Councilor Johnnie Parks asked the council to vote on a mask mandate at a future meeting. The council did discuss moving that meeting to a larger venue so more people feel comfortable to come and speak. We'll let you know when and where that meeting will be held.
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