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Oxford Votes to Remove Mask Mandate Inside City Buildings for Vaccinated Employees, Citizens

City employees and citizens who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will no longer have to wear a mask while inside city-owned buildings.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks while inside buildings.

Citizens who enter city buildings will not be asked to provide proof of vaccination but are asked to wear a mask if they are not.

Two weeks ago, the Board voted to keep the mask mandate in place for city-owned buildings. That was prior to the CDC’s May 13 announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors.

“They do say that it is still important that those who aren’t vaccinated still wear masks,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

Alderman Jason Bailey said the city should follow the CDC’s guidelines.

“If our employees are vaccinated, I don’t think they need to wear a mask,” he said.

Tannehill said about 45 percent of city employees have been fully vaccinated thus far.

Alderman Janice Antonow mentioned the city’s summer camp programs and asked whether the children and counselors would still be required to wear masks.

“The CDC is saying for summer camps right now, they still recommend following the operation strategy for K-12 schools, which means masks and social distancing until they come out and change it,” Emergency Coordinator Jimmy Allgood told the Board.

The Board voted to follow the CDC’s guidelines for the Oxford Park Commission’s summer camp programs for children.

Gov. Tate Reeves lifted all state-imposed mask mandates across Mississippi and removed COVID-19 related restrictions on business operations in March; however, local governments can impose stricter regulations than the governor’s office, but cannot be more lenient.

The city of Oxford has followed Reeves’ executive orders in most areas since September.

As of Tuesday, there has been 6,214 cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 in Lafayette County with 119 deaths.

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