Oxford Board of Aldermen, mayor vote to keep mask mandate in place

Oxford Board of Aldermen, mayor vote to keep mask mandate in place

OXFORD, Miss. (WMC) - The mayor of Oxford and the Board of Alderman voted to continue requiring residents to wear masks when indoors. They are not required when outdoors, except if you are in a situation where social distancing is not possible.

Thursday the Board of Aldermen held a special meeting to discuss masks and safety restrictions.

“The governor’s latest executive order only mandates masking,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

This comes a day after Governor Tate Reeves announced he would not extend the statewide mask mandate.

The board reviewed and voted on changes for several items listed on Executive Order 1525:

  • Group gatherings will remain at 10 for indoors and 25 outdoor
  • Businesses can have 75% capacity
  • Restaurants are also at 75% capacity with only 10 people per table and an 11 p.m. closing time Monday – Saturday.
  • Movie theaters move up to 50% capacity

The big vote being to continue requiring face masks indoors.

Mayor Tannehill says she’s happy with the vote given that Oxford is a college town.

“We have a large student population and a large retiree population, and those two groups have very different needs right now,” said Tannehill.

Tannehill also noted she reached out to several health experts, including Dr. Dobbs with the Mississippi State Department of Health, who all recommended Oxford keep its mask mandate in place.

One Oxford resident says he supports masking up.

“My personal thought is whether it is beneficial or not, I don’t think there is a down side to wearing one,” said Bret Beauchamp, Oxford resident.

Quitman and DeSoto Counties, along with the mayor of Southaven, are also encouraging residents to continue wearing masks.

“DeSoto County is following the guidelines detailed in Governor Tate Reeves' latest Executive Order and we encourage businesses and organizations to do the same. We will continue screening county employees and use social distancing measures when needed,” said District Four Supervisor Lee Caldwell.

“I encourage our citizens the same as I have since the beginning of the pandemic. Use a common-sense approach with social distancing and personal hygiene. If you are required to be in close proximity to other people or have a compromised health condition, I encourage the ongoing use of masks. People have the right to make their own health decisions without government mandates,” said Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite.

Marshall County will follow the governor’s guidelines and if they have any changes that will be discussed at their next meeting.

Mayor Tannehill says everything that was voted on will remain in place for as long as healthcare professionals recommend or until the board revisits those items again.

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