OXFORD • Beginning today, a swathe of businesses previously considered non-essential can now open their doors to customers again in Oxford but must follow masking requirements and maintain other social distancing guidelines.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen met for a special call meeting Tuesday afternoon and updated the city’s standing orders intended to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By a vote of 6-1, the board expedited a recovery plan already in place and will now allow retail businesses, offices, pharmacies and some other businesses to welcome patrons into their buildings.

This comes even as Gov. Tate Reeves amended his own statewide shelter-in-place order beginning Monday to allow many non-essential businesses to open.

Oxford continues to impose some restrictions that are more strict than those levied by the governor, as allowed for by the governor.

In addition to a mandate that all employees and customers wear a face mask, the businesses Oxford will allow to open on Wednesday may only allow 30 percent of their capacity inside their physical locations, or five customers for every 1,000 square feet.

The state’s order requires retail businesses to open at 50 percent capacity.

Hair salons, barbershops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and similar businesses that require close physical contact remain closed in Oxford and throughout the state right now, as mandated by Gov. Tate Reeves.

Movie theaters and entertainment venues must also remain closed, per the governor’s order.

Restaurants must also keep their dining rooms closed in Oxford as throughout the state and may only operate for curbside pickup, drive-thru or delivery.

Oxford already requires face coverings or masks for employees and patrons of essential businesses, a provision imposed by municipal government last week.

Even as the city has begun requiring face coverings in public – a requirement absent from the statewide order – the city is working with community partners to make masks widely available.

Masks will be distributed via drive-thru pickup at Oxford High School on Friday, from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. and again from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The masks distributed will be cloth face coverings. Surgical masks or N95 masks are not required by the masking requirements in Oxford.

The lone dissenting vote was cast Tuesday by Alderman Preston Taylor. He wanted to wait until Saturday to loosen the city’s requirements, in accord with older plans established by the city.


Twitter: @CalebBedillion

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