Oklahoma city immediately dropped its face mask order after residents threatened violence against employees who were enforcing the rule
Just hours after Stillwater, Oklahoma, passed an order requiring the use of face masks in stores and restaurants, the city revised its stance. Store employees trying to enforce the requirement were met with verbal and physical abuse, including a threat involving a firearm, according to a city statement. To protect employees, Mayor Will Joyce amended the order to say that the use of face masks is encouraged, but not required. City Manager Norman McNickle said that many of the customers threatening violence believed that being required to wear face masks is unconstitutional, even though it is legal.
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Residents of Stillwater, Oklahoma — home to Oklahoma State University — did not react well to an order that went into effect on May 1 requiring the use of face masks in stores and restaurants. Within three hours of enforcing the order, store employees reported verbal abuse and threats of physical violence, including one threat involving a firearm. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Will Joyce released an amended order strongly encouraging, but not requiring, the use of face masks.
I am not the kind of person who backs down from bullies, but I also will not send someone else to fight the battle for me. I issued a revised order this afternoon to correct this problem, and we will continue to reevaluate our approach to face coverings. — Mayor Will Joyce #StayHomeStillwater (@stillwaterwill) May 1, 2020
In a statement, City Manager Norman McNickle called the incidents "unfortunate and distressing." "The wearing of face coverings is little inconvenience to protect both the wearer and anyone with whom they have contact," he said, noting that both the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Oklahoma State Department of Health recommend the use of masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. McNickle also said that many of the people objecting to the order believe being required to wear face masks is unconstitutional. "No law or court supports this view," he said. As part of Oklahoma's gradual reopening strategy, personal care businesses such as hair salons were allowed to reopen across the state beginning April 24, and restaurant dining rooms were allowed to open on May 1 as long as they adhered to social distancing and sanitation protocols.SEE ALSO: 4 states in the US have already begun reopening businesses. Check out what that looks like in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Georgia. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown