An Oklahoma city has stopped all mask requirements amid the coronavirus pandemic, as its residents have begun threatening violence over the mandate. According to a report from CNN, the town of Stillwater, Oklahoma, first issued the order on Thursday. The very next day, it amended the guideline.
"In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse," Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. "In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm. This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of Covid-19." While it is not against the law to be without a face mask, the practice of wearing one in public has been recommended by both the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Many of those with objections cite the mistaken belief the requirement is unconstitutional, and under their theory, one cannot be forced to wear a mask. No law or court supports this view," McNickle continued. "It is further distressing that these people, while exercising their believed rights, put others at risk." He later added, "It is unfortunate and distressing that those who refuse and threaten violence are so self-absorbed as to not follow what is a simple show of respect and kindness to others."
Regarding the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously stated that it recommends "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."
The organization continued: "CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance." While the department advocates strongly for the use of face masks, it also suggests that citizens continue to maintain social distancing as a means of slowing the spread as well.