Situation Summary and Local Guidance

As COVID-19 cases rise across the state and locally, Norman City Council passed an ordinance on July 8, 2020 requiring residents to wear facial coverings when outside their homes. The ordinance, which includes exceptions for certain activities and those with medical conditions, works in combination with the University of Oklahoma’s required masking for students and lasts through November 30, 2020. 

On September 8, Council approved ordinance amendments to reduce occupancy loads and increase social distancing on University of Oklahoma home game days.

Information and guidance is also available from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Looking for the Norman COVID-19 data dashboard? Scroll down. 

Declarations, Orders & Ordinances

Current Ordinance

Norman City Council passed Ordinance O-2021-3 on July 7, 2020 that went into effect immediately. The ordinance requires all persons in public service areas or places of public accommodation wear a facial covering at all times, unless one they meet one of the exemptions outlined in the ordinance. The ordinance also requires all businesses to post signage notifying the public of the required masks and limits capacity for bars and restaurants.

On September 8, Council approved ordinance amendments to reduce occupancy loads and increase social distancing on University of Oklahoma home game days.

Read the ordinance and amendments in full for further details.

O-2021-3

O-2021-11

 

Mask Ordinance FAQ

When does the mask ordinance go into effect?
This ordinance went into effect immediately upon acceptance by Council on July 7, 2020.  

 

When will the mask ordinance expire?
This ordinance will expire on November 30 unless extended, rescinded, superseded or amended.

 

How will this ordinance be enforced?
Education will be the first step in enforcement. We will work to educate any violators of the ordinance before pursuing further action. NPD will work in conjunction with Incident Command and the Action Center to respond on a complaint basis and follow procedures already in place and familiar to residents and law enforcement such as prosecution for criminal trespass, disturbing the peace, interference with official process or similar offenses as circumstances warrant.

Places of Public Accommodations that willfully fail to post signage or comply with capacity limitations as required by the ordinance may be subject to a fine of $50 - $500 or civil action as appropriate. Every day a violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate offense and shall be punishable as such.

 

How can violations be reported?
Violations of the mask ordinance can be reported by emailing [email protected] or calling 405-366-5396. If a customer at a business refuses to wear a mask and is causing immediate danger to the businesses’ staff, please call 911.

 

What defines a mask?
A mask is defined as a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face. Masks may be factory-made, or handmade and improvised from ordinary household materials. Household items such as bandanas, towels, t-shirts or any other cotton or linen fabric can be used to make a mask.

 

Does everyone have to wear a mask?
Under this ordinance, everyone 6 years old and above that is within Norman city limits will be required to wear a mask when around people who are not household members. There are exemptions for people who have a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. Exemptions are also made for people who are hearing impaired and people communicating with individuals who are hearing impaired. For more situations in which you should and should not wear a face mask, please refer to the questions below.

 

What are some examples of when to wear a face mask? Please note these are just a few examples and not a comprehensive list.

  • When shopping at the grocery store or other retail establishment.
  • When sitting in the stands close to others while watching a sporting event.
  • When walking around your office/place of work when others are present.
  • When riding in a vehicle with someone who is not a member(s) of your household (i.e. when riding the city bus, when driving in a work vehicle with other employees, etc.)
  • When standing in line at the store or other event.
  • Anytime you are around or interact with someone who you do not live with.

 

When should I not wear a face mask?
There are several exempted activities listed in this ordinance. Those include:

  • While exercising outdoors or when exercising indoors and able to maintain a 6 foot distance.
  • When at home with only members of your household.
  • When alone in your car/vehicle.
  • When actively eating or drinking, or while seated and adequately spaced from others at a food establishment (see below for more detail).
  • When getting a service that requires the temporary removal of a mask, such as during a dental exam, facial, makeup application, etc.
  • When the removal of the mask is necessary to confirm identity.
  • When requested by a law enforcement officer, medical provider or emergency response personnel.
  • When at your place of work, safely distanced from other people for example, in your own office.

 

Do I need a doctor's note to prove I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask?
No. You do not need a doctor's note or documentation proving you have a medical condition preventing you from wearing a mask. However, you may be required to provide certification to your employer.

 

Do I need to wear a mask in the gym?
If you are engaged in physical activity in the gym and are distanced from others, you do not need to wear one. If you are not engaged in physical activity, or are not able to remain at least 6 feet away from others, then one must be worn in a gym

 

Do I need to wear a mask at a restaurant or bar?
Masks should be worn in restaurants and bars as you wait to be seated and while you walk to your table in the dining area. Once seated, you can remove your face mask if you are safely distanced from others. The mask should be put on anytime you leave the table.

 

Do I need to wear a mask at the pool?
Masks should not be worn while swimming. Masks should be worn when in and around the pool area when social distancing from others is not possible to maintain. This may be when entering and exiting the pool facility, or when visiting the locker room or restroom areas.

 

Do I need to wear a mask when playing golf?
Masks should be worn while golfing anytime that social distancing is not possible to maintain.

 

There is an exemption for wearing a mask during a sporting activity. Does that include coaches, umpires or other volunteers on the field/court/etc.?
Players engaged in the sporting activity are exempt from the mask requirement while they are physically active in the sport. This exemption does not apply to players on the sidelines/bench/dugout, coaches, or referees/umpires who are not engaged in physical activity.

 

Are child care providers required to wear a mask?
Yes, child care providers are required to wear a mask. This includes in-home providers.

 

Where can I get a mask if I do not have one?
Both reusable and cloth face masks can be purchased at many different locations around the city including grocery stores, retail establishments, or online retailers. There are also many local cloth mask makers in and around Norman that you can find via Facebook marketplace or other buying and selling groups.

Additionally, the City will be making masks available to residents and for businesses to hand out to customers. Pick up locations and times will be announced at www.coronavirus.normanok.gov by July 15.

 

What should I look for when buying a mask?
Masks should cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. For people who wear glasses, look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

 

How long can I wear a disposable mask?
Disposable masks can be reused multiple times until they are damaged or soiled. You can clean disposable masks before reuse by spraying with an alcohol solution and allowing to dry completely before wearing again. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering.

 

How can I wash my cloth face mask and how often should I clean it?
Cloth face coverings should be washed at least once a day. It is important to always remove face coverings correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used face covering. The CDC has more information on how to wash a cloth face mask: How to Wash a Cloth Face Covering.

 

What are some tips for making a cloth face mask?
Bandanas, scarves, hand towels, or any items made of cotton or linen can easily be used as a face covering, as many have these items at home. The CDC has more information on how to make cloth face coverings at home. Instructions are included for sewn and non-sewn masks: How to Make Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow Spread.

 

How do you properly wear a face mask?
Your mask should cover your face from the bridge of your nose to under your chin. It should be loose fitting but still secure enough to stay in place. Make sure you can talk with your mask on and that it doesn’t irritate you, so you are not tempted to touch it or pull it out of place, which could put you at risk from touching your face or limit its effectiveness.

 

What is the science behind the effectiveness of mask wearing?
The recommendation from the CDC to wear a cloth face covering during the COVID-19 pandemic is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

 

How do masks prevent the spread of COVID-19?
According to the CDC, cloth face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

 

Why are masks being encouraged now when they weren’t before?
COVID-19 is a new virus and we learn new things about it everyday. As we learn more about the virus, we now have more evidence to suggest that face masks could slow the spread of the virus. We will continue to adapt our recommendations as we discover more about the novel Coronavirus.

 

Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?
The CDC does not recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. However, if you are unable to wear a cloth face covering for one of the qualifying exemptions, a face shield is recommended as an alternative barrier.

 

Do I have to wear a face mask in my own home?
A face mask is not necessary when in your own home and only with members of your household. If you are hosting a gathering with people from other households, everyone should wear a face mask in order to protect each other from possible exposure to the virus. If you live in a multi-family unit, such as an apartment building, wear a face mask in communal spaces, such as the laundry room and shared hallways.

 

Can wearing a mask make me sick?
Masks may be uncomfortable or difficult to get used to, but there is no scientific evidence suggesting that wearing a mask can make a healthy individual sick. Both surgical and cloth masks are porous, allowing for normal breathing. According to the CDC, it is unlikely that wearing a mask will cause a buildup of CO2.

 

If I wear a mask do I still have to social distance?
Yes, social distancing should always be practiced and masks are not a substitute for social distancing. Masks act as an additional layer of protection in slowing the spread of the virus.

 

I am a business owner/manager. How do I notify customers of this ordinance?
Under this ordinance businesses and places of public accommodation are required to prominently display signage notifying the public of the facial coverings requirement at or near public and employee entrances. Signs are available for download here. Printed signs will also be available for pickup during normal business hours at:

  • City Clerk's office at City Hall, 201 W. Gray St.
  • Norman Chamber of Commerce, 115 E. Gray St.
  • Visit Norman, 309 E. Main St.

Business Resources

Required Signage

required signage for businesses

Under City Ordinance 2021-3, businesses and other places of public accommodation must prominently display signage notifying the public of the facial coverings requirement at or near public and employee entrances. Signs will be available for download here. Printed signs will also be available for pickup during normal business hours at: 

  • City Clerk's office at City Hall, 201 W. Gray St.
  • Norman Chamber of Commerce, 115 E. Gray St. 
  • Visit Norman, 309 E. Main St.

Signs in a both 8x11 and 11x17 sizes can be downloaded at: bit.ly/CONMaskSigns

Symptoms, Prevention & Testing

Symptoms

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please check the CDC website regularly for updates as more is learned about COVID-19.  

Prevention

How it spreads: 

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
    • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
    • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

Everyone should: 

  • Wash your hands often
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • 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.
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor Your Health Daily
    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
    • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
    • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

(This information was taken from the CDC website)

Should I get tested?

OSDH symptom tracker

To find out if you should get tested, fill out the Oklahoma State Health Department's online form. If you need testing, OSHD will follow up with you through the contact method provided. 

Norman COVID-19 Data Dashboard

Norman’s Emergency Management Team, hospital officials, and public health experts have developed a modeling system to track COVID-19 cases specific to Norman. The below data shows Norman’s progression beginning on April 6. For statewide information visit the OSDH COVID website