Oxford keeps mask requirements indoors, but ease occupancy limits for businesses

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OXFORD, Miss. — The city of Oxford is still requiring masks inside public places. City leaders made that decision a day after Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves lifted a statewide mask mandate.

At the same time, Oxford’s leaders also eased occupancy limits for businesses.

Thursday morning, Oxford’s mayor and Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to keep the city’s face mask requirement for indoor gatherings, believing it’s the best policy for two reasons.

“One is to keep our health care system from being overwhelmed,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said. “The other is to keep our economy going and to keep our business going strong and to support them anyway we can.”

Masks will only be required outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

The ordinance will limit group gatherings to 10 persons indoors and 25 persons outdoors.

Restaurants will remain at 75% capacity but will be allowed to have 10 persons per table and stay open until 11 p.m.

Businesses may now have no greater than 75% of capacity and provide a minimum of six feet social distancing.

The board also approved easing restrictions on reception halls, conference centers, movie theatres and salons.

The mayor said keeping at least an indoor mask policy was urged by state and local health care professionals because of Oxford’s diverse population.

“We have a large student population and a large retiree population, and those two groups have very different needs right now,” Tannehill said.

One man in town said he feels wearing a face mask indoors and outdoors is still the safe way to go.

“The science says that it protects people — not me — but the other people I’m in contact with, and it protects me when I’m in contact with them and it’s the best way to cut down on the number of infections,” Richard Gershon said.

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