Several Tulsa brewery owners sent a letter to the mayor and Tulsa City Council pleading for a mask mandate.
“The craft breweries of Tulsa, Oklahoma are responsible for millions of dollars in economic impact and hundreds of city jobs,” the letter reads. “For the first time in our young industry’s history, we called an emergency meeting last week because of concerns with mounting hospitalizations.”
Executives of eight of the largest local breweries signed the letter, including American Solera, Heirloom and Cabin Boys. The plea comes 24 hours before the a scheduled Council vote on a mask mandate ordinance. Last week, the Council failed to pass a mandate after hours of pleas from community members. The vote failed when four councilors said they wouldn’t vote yes, in part because they didn’t agree with how quickly their colleagues wrote the ordinance in response to a rapidly escalating public health emergency.
Community urges mask mandate ahead of city meeting
In the week since the council’s last meeting, cases and hospitalizations across the city have continued to climb. According to a Facebook post by a Tulsa emergency department doctor, COVID hospitalization are at record highs. Dr. Gray noted things are worse now than they were in the winter due to the age of patients.
Because patients are younger, they have longer hospital stays before being able to go home or, sadly, passing away. Gray said of the patients he’s personally admitted in August, only one received the vaccine.
In a press conference Tuesday, Mayor GT Bynum said the city will back businesses requiring masks. The mayor reaffirmed the ability for businesses to press trespassing charges on anyone who refuses to follow their mask protocol.
Many Tulsans, however, are calling on him and the council to do more to combat COVID by issuing a mask mandate at Wednesday’s meeting.