OKOLONA – On Wednesday, July 1, Okolona Mayor Sherman Carouthers signed an executive order strongly recommending that masks be worn by all in the city.

“This is a strong recommendation to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Carouthers. “The factor that caused for the Executive Order was the sudden increase of COVID-19 cases in the Okolona Area.”

The order, which is granted under the governor's Executive Order(s), reads that face coverings are to be worn when in contact with others.

“In an effort to strive to keep the City of Okolona's economy remaining open for business, effective at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020, all persons who are present with the jurisdiction of the City of Okolona shall wear a clean face covering any time they are, or will be, in contact with people in indoor public or business spaces where it is not possible to maintain social distance” it reads. “While wearing the face covering, it is essential to still maintain social distance being the best defense against the spread of COVID-19. The intent of this executive order is to encourage voluntary compliance with the requirements established herein by the businesses and persons within the jurisdiction of the City of Okolona.”

The order goes on to list the parameters of which are to be followed as well as exceptions.

“ 1 Signage should be posted by entrances to businesses stating the face covering requirement for entry.

2. A patron located inside an indoor public or business space without a face covering will be asked to leave by the business owner(s) if the patron is unwilling to come into compliance with wearing a face covering.

3. Face coverings are not required for:

a. People whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering.

b. Those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral

condition.

c. Restaurant patrons while dining.

d. Private, individual offices or offices with fewer than ten (10) employees.

e. Other settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as receipt of dental services or swimming.

f. Banks, gyms, or spaces with physical barrier partitions which prohibit contact

between the customer(s) and employee.

g. Small offices where the public does not Interact with the employee(s).

h. Children under twelve (12) years of age.

i. That upon the formulation of an articulable safety plan which meets the goals of this executive order businesses may seek an exemption in writing emailed to mayorcarouthers@cityofokolona.com

According to Carouthers, the order will remain in effect until the city council convenes on July 14, and a decision is made about the future of the order.

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