Face coverings required at all city meetings, library
By Traci Chapman
Although officials have not followed the lead of Mustang’s biggest neighbor in implementing a citywide face mask mandate, anyone wishing to attend city council meetings – and one of its busiest facilities – will now be required to wear one.
Mustang City Manager Tim Rooney stated in his July 31 city manager report that restriction – for anyone attending public meetings – would go into effect Aug. 1. The requirement was implemented as a result of continuing communications between city officials and Oklahoma State Health Department and in response to data and directives given by Oklahoma Information Fusion Center and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said.
Face masks would be required of anyone entering a city meeting room for council, planning commission, municipal court and for adjustment, leisure services and library board meetings and the like, the city manager said.
“Face masks will be provided in the event those interested in attending do not have one,” Rooney said.
The announcement came as positive test results and deaths connected with the novel coronavirus continued to spike statewide and in Canadian County – and nationwide, data showed. As of Sunday, 38,225 Oklahomans tested positive and 550 people to date died as a result of COVID-19; 30,820 recovered as of that time, according to OSDH.
Canadian County is now fourth in the state in terms of the most positive cases – now sitting at 1,078 – and five residents as of Sunday died from COVID-19. State health department data indicated in its Sunday report 172 Mustang residents tested positive, with one dying as a result of the virus.
State data indicates Canadian County is also the fourth largest county in the state, after Oklahoma, Tulsa and Cleveland counties.
During Council’s July 7 meeting, of those sitting at the dais only Rooney and City Attorney Jonathan Miller wore face masks; Mayor and Vice-Mayor Jess Schweinberg and Brian Grider and members Michael Ray, Keith Teeples, Terry Jones, Travis McKenzie and Nathan Sholund, as well as City Clerk Lisa Martin, did not don masks.
In addition to a formal meeting mask requirement, Mustang Public Library also began requiring face masks for anyone wishing to enter the premises effective Aug. 1, Rooney and library director Julie Slupe said.
While numbers continued to climb and as COVID-19 continued to wreak havoc, examples of how Mustang residents help each other continue, City Manager Tim Rooney said.
That illustration came courtesy two families, who together made donations totaling $13,000 for the use of city utility customers unable to pay their bills due to COVID-19’s impact. Many Americans continue to struggle as a result of business suspensions and closures resulting in job loss and furlough; many protections available were discontinued when Gov. Kevin Stitt reopened the state for business, and federal legislators last week were unable to come to an agreement that would continue unemployment benefits for an estimated 30 million Americans who have lost some or all of their income as a result of the virus.
“Through those donations, a total of 82 utility accounts were provided financial assistance, for an average amount of $158.53 per customer,” Rooney said in his July 31 city manager’s report. “In each case, the families (donating funds) wanted to donate a specific amount of money and assist as many customers as possible in order to bring their individual utility accounts current or to remove them from the cutoff list.
“It’s just another example of Mustang taking care of Mustang – a small caring community with big hearts,” the city manager said Monday.