Bar Mask Ordinance

The outside of Blue Bonnet Bar is pictured Nov. 30, when bars and restaurants were limited to 50% capacity due to increasing positive cases of COVID-19 in Norman. The city increased capacity Friday.

Mayor Breea Clark rolled back capacity restrictions for businesses from 50% to 75% Friday, the City of Norman announced.

The proclamation is effective immediately and includes bars, restaurants, gyms, indoor gatherings and sporting events, a news release states.

Clark said it was not an easy judgement call to make and urged the public to keep practicing Centers for Disease Control Prevention guidelines.

“This decision was actually difficult to make,” she told The Transcript. “Since we only have weekly numbers of new COVID cases, we do not have the real picture of COVID-19 in our community.

“After receiving advice from the medical community and being encouraged by the enthusiastic response to vaccinations in Norman, we do feel it is safe to take a step forward. I know we are all ready to return to normal, but we must remain vigilant with wearing masks, watching our distance, and washing our hands.”

The city’s mask mandate remains in place, the release states.

Increased capacity also comes with a contingency that business owners continue to frequently clean surfaces like tables, chairs and door handles using cleaners “that have been shown effective at eliminating or killing COVID-19,” the release states.

The proclamation keeps intact social distancing requirements in businesses.

“This is welcome news for our local businesses,” Norman Chamber of Commerce President Scott Martin told The Transcript. “Their hard work and perseverance has paid off. The extra capacity will make a significant positive impact on their ability to operate and survive as they recover, and move into the new economic reality.”

Oklahoma City’s capacity restrictions on businesses expired in November, but its mask mandate remains in place. Moore does not have capacity restrictions and has followed Gov. Kevin Stitt’s orders.

Mindy Wood covers City Hall news and notable court cases for The Transcript. Reach her at mwood@normantranscript.com or 405-416-4420.

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