The Norman City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday that mandates the use of face coverings in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.
The ordinance requires a face covering to be worn in places offering goods, services or items to the public, places where employees interact with the public and public places where people congregate. Capacity limitations and social distancing requirements for restaurants and bars are also included in the ordinance.
The city will develop signage that businesses are required to post at all entrances notifying the public of the mandate. Businesses that fail to post signs and restaurants or bars that do not comply with capacity limitations could be subject to a fine of $50-$500.
Kathryn Walker, city attorney for the City of Norman, said during the special session that there isn’t a specific penalty for not wearing a mask; instead, penalties would be based on the patron’s behavior.
“For example, if you’re denied entry because you refuse to wear a mask and you just get in your car and go home, no issues there," Walker said. "If you create a scene - if you’re yelling or screaming or some of these things we’re seeing going viral across the country - that’s when the police may be called.”
People exempt from the face covering requirement include children under the age of 6, individuals who are engaged in high intensity activities and people with certain disabilities or medical conditions. Activities exempt from the face covering requirement include while eating or drinking or while receiving dental or medical treatment or services.
According to the ordinance, face coverings are considered items that fully cover a person’s nose and mouth including, but not limited to, cloth face masks, towels, scarves and bandanas.
The ordinance passed by an 8-1 vote.
The emergency ordinance is effective immediately and will expire on Nov. 30 unless appealed or modified by the council.