TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum reiterated Thursday that the city’s mask ordinance will be allowed to expire at the end of April.
Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart held a news conference to give an update on the COVID-19 situation in the city and county, and to address the upcoming changes to COVID-19 restrictions.
Bynum’s comments Thursday mirrored those from a statement last Friday saying he’ll let the city’s mask ordinance expire on if COVID-19 trends in the area continue trending down.
He met with the city leaders and public health leadership on Friday to go over the trends in the area and come up with their next recommendations.
The mayor says if the downward trend continues through the end of the month, the Tulsa Health Department recommends that the city’s mask mandate can expire on schedule and that he supports that recommendation.
“Expiration of this ordinance on April 30 will end the mandate for masks in public places, the spacing requirement in restaurants, and the requirement of safety plans for events over 150 people,” Bynum says.
“Expiration of this ordinance will not limit the ability of private businesses and property owners to require masks in their establishments.”
There will still be some restrictions in place in the city according to another executive order the mayor put in place.
“Remaining in effect after April 30 will be my executive order requiring all restaurant and bar employees to wear masks at work and requiring an approved safety plan for events over 500 people in attendance,” Bynum says.
“Public health officials recommend these regulations remain in effect until we reach herd immunity, and I agree with their recommendation.”
Bynum cited Tulsa County’s low hospitalization numbers -- 32-COVID-19-related hospitalizations as of Thursday -- as reason to be optimistic about the direction of the city’s pandemic response going forward.
“Our mask order was put in place to protect the ability of our hospital systems to save lives in Tulsa,” Bynum says.
“It was put in place at the request of local health care systems and public health officials for that purpose. It has served that purpose, and now that hospital capacity is no longer endangered this easing of regulations makes sense. We remain in a pandemic. It is crucial that everyone who wants to get a vaccine do so. It is crucial that all of us continue to be smart and follow CDC guidelines to protect ourselves and one another.”
The city and Tulsa Health Department scheduled a news conference for April 15 to go over their next actions in response to the pandemic.
The White House announced Friday that Tulsa will play host to a federal mass vaccination site.
Cox Media Group