By Conrad Dudderar
A decision on making changes or lifting the City of Yukon’s mask requirements is expected after the COVID-19 Task Force meets next week.
For nearly nine months, the City of Yukon has required all cooks and servers at bars and restaurants in Yukon city limits to wear masks on duty. The public and city employees also must don face coverings while inside any city-owned building.
“We’re waiting two weeks after spring break,” Mayor Shelli Selby said, “just to make sure our numbers aren’t going back up.”
The Yukon COVID-19 Task Force meets again next Wednesday, March 31 by videoconference.
“We look at the hospital, we look at the health department, we look at our numbers, we take the advice of our police chief and fire chief to see how many calls are still being made, and how many people we have out (due to COVID-19) in the City of Yukon,” the mayor explained. “Those are the things we will look at.”
COVID-19 Task Force members are expected to make a recommendation to city leaders at next week’s meeting.
“It’s ultimately up to the city council,” Selby noted.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Canadian County “continues to decline,” said Maggie Jackson, community engagement and planning director for the Canadian County Health Department.
“We have 314 active cases in Canadian County, but the average new cases per day has been dropping – so that’s encouraging,” Jackson reported March 25.
“We are at 8 new cases per 100,000 (population) in the seven-day average.”
Of note, Canadian County had just 5 new cases on March 14.
Mayor Selby on July 2, 2020 signed a proclamation updating the City of Yukon’s emergency declaration to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The guidelines included the masking requirements for city buildings, restaurants and bars.
“I just have to end the proclamation,” Selby said, if the decision is made to revise or cancel the mask policy.
“I can just say ‘it’s ending today’.”
NO CITY-WIDE MANDATE
Unlike Oklahoma City, the Yukon City Council never enacted a city-wide mask mandate – although some City of Yukon businesses have required customers to wear masks in their stores.
“Yukon residents have done an excellent job following all the COVID-19 precautions over the past year,” Ward 3 City Council Member Donna Yanda said this week.
“Our case numbers have been declining lately and everything is moving in a positive direction for our community. I think our mayor should reconsider the mask requirements that are still in effect as we continue moving back to life as normal.”
The Yukon COVID-19 Task Force was established in August 2020 for the public’s health and safety and the city’s economic welfare, according to Mayor Selby.
Task force members started meeting in early September to develop recommendations to present to the Yukon City Council.
Among task force members are: Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar, Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort, Spanish Cove Retirement Village CEO Don Blose, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital President Teresa Gray, Yukon Police Chief John Corn, Yukon Fire Chief Shawn Vogt, Yukon Chamber CEO Pam Shelton, CCHD’s Jackson, along with several residents.
When the task force was established, Yukon’s mayor explained its role.
“This is a place to come together and, through education and putting together the minds of some of Yukon’s finest, do what is best for our community,” Selby said.
“Our sole goal here is to make recommendations that keep our citizens and businesses safe.”