• Thrive PEO

Navigating Tulsa's New Mask Ordinance

Updated: Sep 2

Following is a summary of the mask ordinance passed in Tulsa this week, including how it applies to area businesses and employers.


Public service areas of places of public accommodation


For businesses, including retail establishments, personal services and spas, entertainment venues, food service facilities, restaurants and bars, hotels, motels and travel–related services, professional offices and services, banks and financial services, repair facilities and motor vehicle dealerships, people are required to wear face masks at all times when they are in an area where employees interact with the public. While in office and workplace areas where social distancing may be consistently maintained and that do not include interaction with the public, face masks are not required. Educational institutions

This includes public schools, private schools and preschools and covers any building or facility used for academic or athletic purposes. People are required to wear face masks at all times when they are in an area where institution employees interact with the public. Organized activities and practices on an institution’s playing surface are excluded from the requirement. Public settings

These are public places where people congregate, and those locations can include offices, workplaces, houses of worship, childcare facilities, hospitals and health facilities, gymnasiums and physical fitness facilities, adult and youth sport facilities, communal outdoor spaces (e.g., sidewalks, trails and parks), food trucks, and other outdoor retail entities. For public settings, if social distancing cannot be maintained, people are required to wear face masks. As demonstrated by large national retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club, Krogers, Best Buy and others, businesses always have the right to set their own, more stringent face mask requirements. Exceptions to face mask requirements

Children under the age of 18 are not required to wear face masks. Likewise, individuals who should not wear face masks due to medical or mental health conditions or developmental disabilities are exempt. Other exemptions from the face mask requirements include:

  • While eating and drinking in a restaurant

  • During dental services, medical treatment or while swimming

  • While in a vehicle, office or other private space and where others outside your household are not present

  • When in a private home

  • While engaged in outdoor exercising or walking, so long as social distancing can be maintained

The Tulsa ordinance does not set any fines for violations; however, persons violating its requirements are subject to prosecution for trespass, disturbing the peace, or disorderly conduct. Note: Employers should anticipate possible pushback or confusion from employees about the new ordinance; and to address these concerns, Thrive recommends that company's should consider preparing a formal face mask policy that:

  1. Follows the ordinance’s requirements, and

  2. Is tailored to their business’ particular operations and workplace.


For additional information, contact Thrive PEO - Oklahoma's best Professional Employer Organization at: thrive@thrivepeo.com or (918) 943-5800.

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