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Norman City Council Approves Changes To Mask Ordinance

The Norman City Council discusses changes to the city’s mask and nuisance ordinance during an online meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The Norman City Council discusses changes to the city’s mask and nuisance ordinance during an online meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22. ";

The Norman City Council approved changes to the city’s mask and nuisance ordinance Tuesday night in an effort to address large social gatherings, particularly among college students, during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The amended ordinance redefined a "public setting" to include indoor and outdoor gatherings on public and private properties, including homes. This means people are required to wear a mask if physical distancing cannot be maintained in a social gathering of more than 25 people. 

People who refuse to wear a face covering in these settings may be subject to a fine of $50 to $500.

City Attorney Kathryn Walker said during the city council meeting that the amended ordinance adds “use of face coverings” to the list of violations that can cause a social gathering to be deemed a public nuisance. 

“So if they’re having a gathering of over 25 people and they aren’t wearing a mask and they’re not social distanced, the officer could use that as a charge to support a nuisance party allegation,” Walker said.

Councilmember Kate Bierman said she thinks the amended ordinance will address the types of large social activities and events that are the most concerning and are contributing to an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

Earlier this week, Oklahoma’s seven day average for new COVID-19 cases surpassed 1,100, which is a record high.

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Katelyn discovered her love for radio as a student employee at KGOU, graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and then working as a reporter and producer in 2021-22. Katelyn has completed internships at SiriusXM in New York City and at local news organizations such as The Journal Record and The Poteau Daily News. Katelyn served as president of the OU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists from 2017 to 2020. She grew up in Midland, Texas.
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