BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — The Broken Arrow City Council failed to pass both a mask mandate and a resolution Tuesday night by a 2-2 vote count.
City Councilmember Johnnie Parks said he’s alone in this initiative. This is the second time he's pushed for a mask mandate since Tulsa introduced an ordinance in June 2020.
Tuesday’s meeting comes nearly two months after a resolution failed in a four-to-one vote in November. However, Tuesday’s vote was a “mandate” requiring the wearing of masks in all businesses in the city, rather than just a recommendation.
Parks said it’s his obligation as a public servant to help protect the health of Broken Arrow residents. As cases continue to spike across the city, Parks hoped the passing of this mandate would help keep numbers low.
“I think that’s the right thing to do,” Parks said. “The bottom line is that we could look at our numbers and compare them with Tulsa’s. We can see that Tulsa’s [numbers] improved. Even though they’ve got higher numbers, they’re not higher than our percentage per 100,000.”
Mayor Craig Thurmond was against a mandate in the past and denounced recommendations from the Tulsa Health Department.
"We're not going to mandate that you have to wear a mask, we're not,” Thurmond said. “At least, personally, I don't agree with that, and we're not going to mandate that you have to be healthy, we're not going to mandate how much soda you can drink like some cities do."
The Tulsa Health Department reported Broken Arrow is in “severe risk” category two and three, meaning that there are 0.64 to 0.86 or more new cases per 1,000 people. They recommend people stay home unless you’re traveling for work or the general public acquiring food or medical care.
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