Some Tulsa businesses continuing mask requirements, despite mask mandate expiration

TULSA, Okla. — On May 1, the City of Tulsa says a mask mandate will end. City officials say part of the decision was based on low COVID-19 numbers, low hospitalizations, and people getting their vaccines.

Mayor G.T. Bynum announced that he plans to also issue a new executive order that would remove the city’s mask requirements for restaurant and bar employees.

Mike Bausch, the owner of Andolini’s Pizzeria, says they will make the transition and allow their employees to make the decision to wear a mask. He said, “We always said we would abide by the mandates of our local ordinances, by the city, the state and federal ones and that’s where we are now.” Bausch added, “From an employee standpoint, it’s arduous to wear a mask, especially in front of an oven for hours on end. We did that because it was the choice of safety, it was a pragmatic decision, and we supported science.”

Bausch says they have continued to follow CDC guidelines and have encouraged their staff to get vaccinated. He says their business will continue to keep certain safety protocols in place like the QR code menus.

Other business like Magic City Books says they will continue to ask staff and customers to wear masks despite the end of the mask ordinance. Pat Cawiezell, Buyer and Author Coordinator at Magic City Books, said, “The masks are important to us. We’re going to keep masks required here at Magic City Books beyond Friday when it expires here in Tulsa.”

Cawiezell says since the beginning of the pandemic they have continued to stay cautious and follow strict guidelines to keep their customers and employees safe. He added, “We’ve had people who are really supportive on our stance on masks and limits on the store. We have customers who are still not comfortable shopping in person and they continue to order their books to be shipped to them.”