By Robert Medley
Don Blose, the CEO of Spanish Cove Retirement Village, asked the Yukon City Council Tuesday night to mandate a mask ordinance for people in public places.
Yukon’s emergency proclamation mandates masks for restaurant food servers, cooks and bartenders. The proclamation has been signed by Mayor Shelli Selby. It does not require people to wear masks in public places, although individual businesses and organizations can make their own mask policies.
As Selby listened to Blose speak at the beginning of the Tuesday, Aug. 4 regular city council meeting, Blose said he spoke on behalf of older adults who live in the largest Yukon retirement village.
Blose said his residents are afraid to shop in Yukon, and they are going to Oklahoma City because masks are mandatory for the public.
There have been seven cases of COVID-19 at Spanish Cove and six people have recovered. People have been quarantined, and no residents have died or had to be hospitalized, Blose said.
Blose said he realized the council has hard decisions to make.
“We’ve kind of thrown this thing in your lap, which is a tragedy in itself, but in the absence of really protecting safety measures that we can take as citizens for our community, you know the simple things we can do, social distancing, and you can see here, and everybody in here is wearing a mask, that is awesome,” Blose said, wearing a mask as he turned his head to look around the council chamber room. Masks are required in all City of Yukon public buildings.
“Those are the basic two things that will keep us safe.” Blose said.
“We have a population, we are considered a senior-friendly community, and as a representative of Spanish Cove, I’m not sure that we feel that safe in this community.”
Canadian County has the fourth most cases of COVID-19 of all counties in the state, and has had sixth deaths, including three in Yukon, and one death in Piedmont, Mustang and El Reno.
“Just looking at the data, I looked at it yesterday, Yukon made a huge leap up from where it was… We are a hot spot in this community. My residents will tell me that they are afraid to get outside, or at least some of them. And many of them have asked me to just make an ote to you guys that they’re at a point now where they are needing to go to Oklahoma City to shop because they have a mask requirement,” Blose said.
Blose is the former immunization director at the Oklahoma State Department of Health who took the job at Spanish Cove in 2012.
The council did not take action on Blose’s request at the Tuesday night meeting. Blose requested the council address the issue at a future meeting.
“They (Spanish Cove residents) are just not feeling that safe. I’m sorry that this has fallen at a city level, but it is the right thing to do for our community. It is the one thing that really preaches love your neighbor as yourself,” Blose said. “I know we have some who feel it is a constitutional right to not wear a mask. But this is a different day and age, it is a temporary solution.”
Council Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton Tuesday night proposed a repeal of the $700 fine, or three days in jail punishment for violators of the Yukon emergency proclamation, but the council voted 3-2 against removing the fine.