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STATE OF EMERGENCY: Masks are required in Oklahoma City. Visit covid19.okc.gov for updates and details on the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) emergency proclamation.

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Masks required in indoor public places in Oklahoma City

Post Date:07/17/2020 6:14 PM

The City Council voted in a special meeting Friday to approve an emergency public safety ordinance requiring face coverings in indoor public places throughout Oklahoma City.

The ordinance took effect immediately. Read it here.

Public health officials say face coverings are key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Evidence shows there’s a high risk of infected people spreading the virus with their breath if they don’t use a face covering. Evidence also shows infected people can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.

Free signs about the requirements to print for display at local businesses and other public spaces, along with social media graphics and animations, are available on a public shared drive at covid19.okc.gov.

Visit covid19.okc.gov for the latest on the coronavirus in Oklahoma City, including other emergency restrictions in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Face covering requirements

Everyone in Oklahoma City age 11 and up is required to wear a face covering, like a mask or face shield, in indoor public spaces. There are some exceptions.

Public health officials also recommend face coverings for children age 3 and up, although it’s not a requirement in the emergency ordinance.

Face coverings are required only in indoor spaces open to the public, including private property.

The face covering must cover both the nose and mouth. A face shield is an alternative to a cloth face covering or mask. Here are general CDC recommendations about cloth face coverings and masks.

Exceptions to face covering requirements are:

  • Children age 10 and under, unless required by a school or daycare.
  • People working in an office who don’t have face-to-face interactions with the public.
  • Patrons of restaurants, bars and similar establishments while eating or drinking.
  • People in settings where it isn’t practical or feasible to wear a face covering, like receiving dental services, swimming or playing at a sprayground.
  • People engaged in sports (including for recreation).
  • People engaged in cardio exercises. But people should make reasonable efforts to observe social distancing between groups of people from different households.
  • People inside any federal, state or county building or facility.
  • People inside a public or private school building or facility, unless required by the school.
  • People at a religious service or ceremony where social distancing is observed between groups of people from different households.
  • People with a developmental disability.
  • People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The requirements expire Sept. 8, unless the Council takes further action.

Enforcement

The ordinance allows for enforcement by the Police Department, or code inspectors from the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD) and the City’s Development Services Department. The Council prefers enforcement by code inspectors when possible.

When responding to calls for enforcement, inspectors or officers will first offer a mask or an opportunity for the person to leave the public, indoor space.

People who refuse to wear the mask or leave would be subject to a fine of $9 on a conviction for a first or second offense. The fine would rise to a maximum of $100 for third and subsequent offenses.

People with a medical condition preventing them from safely wearing a mask can produce a document from their physician confirming that information, and will not be subject to a conviction and fine.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the requirements.

Q: Who is required to wear a face covering, and in what situations?
A: Everyone in Oklahoma City age 11 and over is subject to the requirements when inside most buildings accessible to the public. There are narrow exceptions. Public health officials recommend children age 3 and up should also wear face coverings, but that is not required by the emergency ordinance.

Q: Why are face coverings required?
A: Public health officials say face coverings are key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. Evidence shows there’s a high risk of infected people spreading the virus with their breath if they don’t wear a face covering. Evidence also shows infected people can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms. You protect others by wearing a mask, and others protect you by wearing theirs.

Q: What kind of face covering is required?
A: It must cover your nose and mouth. A face shield is an alternative to a cloth face covering or mask.

Here are some general CDC recommendations about cloth face coverings and masks:

  • It should cover your nose and mouth.
  • It should be secured under your chin, and fit snugly against the side of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.
  • Wash cloth masks after using them. Read more here.
  • Read more here about how to wear a mask.
  • Read more here about how to make a mask at home.

Q: Are face coverings required for children and staff at schools and day cares?
A: It’s at the discretion of the school or daycare operator. Public health officials recommend face coverings in public settings for anyone age 3 and up.

Q: Are face coverings required for people inside office buildings, warehouses and other workplaces closed to the public?
A: No, if it’s closed to the public. But public health officials recommend wearing face coverings when in shared spaces inside those buildings, including all shared work spaces, hallways, bathrooms, conference rooms, elevators, stairwells and similar locations. 

Q: Are face coverings required outdoors?
A: No. But public health officials recommend wearing face coverings outdoors in public settings for anyone age 3 and up. 

Q: Are face coverings required for people at restaurants, bars and similar places?
A: Yes, except for when eating or drinking. 

Q: Are face coverings required for people in parks, trails and similar outdoor spaces?
A: No. But public health officials recommend face coverings in public settings for anyone age 3 and up.

Q: Are face coverings required for walking in neighborhoods, or playing sports?
A: No. But public health officials recommend face coverings in public settings for anyone age 3 and up.

Q: I have a health condition that makes it unsafe for me to wear a face covering, but businesses are refusing to grant me access. What can I do?
A: Businesses are allowed to deny entry and refuse service.

Q: Can I carry a gun while wearing a face covering?
A: There’s no restriction related to wearing a face covering while carrying a gun.

Other COVID-19 issues

Mayor David Holt and public health officials encourage everyone in Oklahoma City to wear a face covering in any situation when it’s hard to stay at least 6 feet away from people outside of your household.

It’s also important to wash your hands regularly, avoid unnecessarily touching your face, and practice social distancing.

All businesses are encouraged to consult and follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and OCCHD guidelines, which are available at occhd.org/reopen.

What to do if you're sick 

COVID-19 symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Here's a symptom tracker.

If you’re sick, stay home. Avoid public areas. Stay away from others. Wear a mask or other face covering when you are around other people.

If you're sick, do not go to the ER. Consult first with a health care provider. Regardless of whether tests show you have a common cold, the flu or COVID-19, doctors will tell most people to stay home, rest, get plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others.

If your symptoms worsen, you have difficulty breathing or you have a fever for more than 72 hours, call your doctor. If you don't have health insurance or a doctor, call (405) 425-4489.

Click here for the state’s testing site dashboard.

Learn more here.

Face coverings

Federal, state and local public health authorities recommend you wear a face covering in public.

They’re primarily to protect you from accidentally infecting others. They keep germs away from others.

Many people infected with the coronavirus take a long time to develop symptoms, or never do. If everyone wears face coverings, it will slow down COVID-19.

Here's a do-it-yourself face covering guide from the CDC.

Read more from the CDC.

Information and resources for people

Information and resources for businesses and organizations

Click here for the latest emergency restrictions in OKC.

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Media Contact
Kristy Yager
(405) 297-2550
kristy.yager@okc.gov

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