The city of Stillwater, Oklahoma, has amended an emergency proclamation requiring people to wear face coverings in public after threats of violence.
In a statement, Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle said that in three hours on May 1, while face coverings were mandatory inside stores in the city, employees were “threatened with physical violence” by people who “cite the mistaken belief the requirement is unconstitutional.” One person even threatened an employee with a gun for asking them to wear a mask, according to McNickle.
“It is further distressing that these people, while exercising their believed rights, put others at risk,” McNickle said in a statement. “As mentioned, there is clear medical evidence the face coverings prevent COVID-19 spread; they are recommended by both the CDC and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The wearing of face coverings is little inconvenience to protect both the wearer and anyone with whom they have contact. And, an unprotected person who contracts the virus can infect their own loved ones and others.”
McNickle and Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce reversed the emergency proclamation late Friday. The city will still require store workers to wear masks, but with the amendment citizens are now just “strongly encouraged” to wear coverings, instead of requiring it.
Stillwater has a population of about 50,000 and is the location of Oklahoma State University. The university sent students home in mid-March and conducted classes online the rest of the semester.