Yukon City Council to revisit mask mandate

Yukon Vice Mayor, Jeff Wootton, right, and Mayor Shelli Selby, left discuss the emergency proclamation Tuesday, Aug. 4 at the city council meeting. (Photo by Robert Medley)

The mask mandate issue will be considered again at the Tuesday city council meeting during discussion of the City of Yukon’s emergency COVID-19 proclamation.

The city council members will “consider approving a revised emergency proclamation,” according to an agenda for the meeting.

Mayor Shelli Selby has proposed changes to the emergency proclamation.

The council members will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in a study session that will be followed by a 7 p.m. regular meeting.

The council will meet in-person at 12 S. Fifth Street, in the Council Chambers of the Centennial building. Meetings are also livestreamed.

Vice-Mayor Jeff Wootton opposes a mask mandate for all public places in Yukon. Yukon’s current emergency ordinance requires City of Yukon employees and the public to wear masks in all city buildings.

Masks are not currently required in other public places in the city.

If approved by a majority of council members, proposed changes would take effect Wednesday, Oct. 7 through Dec. 10.

The proposal would require anyone in public to wear a mask at all times. The city would require all personnel of businesses who engage in the sale or purchase or dispensing of commodities, goods and or services to wear masks at all times.

The city will continue to require theater-style seating venues to stagger seating by allowing every other row to remain open with two seats between people. The city will continue to require masks in city buildings.

Selby has stated reasons for mandating masks in public places.

“We have been running around 100 active cases of COVID for the last couple of months. I check daily,” Selby posted on social media. “The last two weeks we have jumped to around 245 or 235 today, active cases. But the part that concerns me is the fact that our hospitals are having to divert patients to other hospitals.

“This week we diverted patients to Grove and Enid because those are the closest open hospitals. All Oklahoma City INTEGRIS hospitals are full. Our nurses and doctors are working 12 hour or more days in a row due to nurses being out sick with COVID. They are weary. We have had city offices and businesses have to close for COVID in the past two weeks.

“Why? I think we are weary of COVID. A am too. But we have to continue to be vigilant in our efforts. Wearing a mask, limiting the number of people in gatherings, washing our hands, isn’t about freedom. Do it on your own, out of care and concern about others.”

Vice Mayor Wootton voiced his opposition to Selby’s proposed revised proclamation on Tuesday’s agenda:

“I will not vote for the approval of this. I think is a major overstepping in the role of your city government. In the meeting it will be a discussion but ultimately the mayor is the only one that can do a proclamation. BUT I WILL NOT SUPPORT A MANDATE.

“If you agree with me on this, I challenge you to reach out to your other Council members and tell them to vote not to support this mandate and proclamation.”

Wootton challenged Yukon residents to show up and let their voices be heard.

Follow The Yukon Progress and yukonprogress.com for updates.