Thursday, May 19, 2022

Masks Mandatory Again When Waiting in Line at Oxford Restaurants

Customers waiting outside in line to get a table inside an Oxford restaurant will once again have to don a mask after the Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Monday to put the mandate back on the books.

The city of Oxford had originally required in its Serving Oxford Safely Plan for masks to be worn outdoors when social distancing couldn’t be achieved. However, in September, the Board voted to follow Gov. Tate Reeves’ executive order that states that masks must be worn when “inside” a building.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill said she had been fielding questions about whether masks were still required after photos of people lined up and maskless outside of a local restaurant this past weekend made their way around social media.

“Some people, including some on this board, thought masks were still mandatory when waiting in a line,” Tannehill said.

Restaurant owners will be required to “police” the lines outside of their businesses to make sure people are wearing their masks.

Alderman Mark Huelse said if people are required to wear a mask while walking around inside a bar or restaurant that it made sense that they should be wearing one while waiting outside.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill said that while wearing a mask is the smart thing to do, she was concerned on whether the city could enforce the mandate with a limited number of police officers working in the downtown district.

Alderman Janice Antonow said she didn’t expect there would be 100 percent compliance; however, even if half of the people wore a mask while in line, it would still help from spreading the virus.