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Aldermen approve fourth COVID-19 emergency resolution; masks required in essential businesses

The first small step to reopening Oxford was taken on Thursday.

During a recessed meeting on Thursday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved a fourth emergency COVID-19 resolution. The new resolution is an extension of the third resolution, which coincided with the City’s shelter-in-place order that expires on April 30.

Effective at 8 a.m. on April 30, all non-essential businesses will be allowed to resume offering curbside service along with drive-thru and delivery methods. Curbside service is currently prohibited in the City’s shelter-in-place order which extends three days longer than Governor Tate Reeves’ statewide order that expires on April 27.

The new resolution will remain in effect until May 18.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on April 25, all essential businesses will be required to have employees properly wearing masks or face coverings at all times. This was approved by the Board along with the new resolution on Thursday. Essential business owners must also monitor all points of entry, and anyone entering the business who is six years of age or older can be prohibited from entering if not properly wearing a mask or face covering.

A decision to require masks be worn in essential businesses was due to a number of phone calls members of the Board received on April 18 regarding gatherings of people in stores not adhering to social distancing guidelines and not wearing masks, according to Mayor Robyn Tannehill.

“We know that this is what helps us be successful and be open in the fall. That’s the light at the end of the tunnel for us,” Tannehill said. “Knowing that we are moving slowly enough to protect the most important season for our economy, the fall, without having to go backwards and shelter-in-place again between now and then. Being irresponsible now in the steps that we take will only hurt us more in the fall.”

Masks and facial coverings must be worn when entering essential businesses throughout the duration of the fourth resolution. Businesses that do not follow the facial covering requirements run the risk of being issued a ticket and subsequent fine that would be determined by a judge.