Stillwater rescinded its requirement that restaurant and retail customers wear face coverings after businesses reported employees facing threats of violence over the masks, according to a news release.

Mayor Will Joyce amended his emergency proclamation to “encourage” citizens to wear face coverings while at essential and nonessential businesses.

City Manager Norman McNickle said in a press release that businesses relayed that store employees had been “threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse” Friday.

“In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm,” McNickle said. “This has occurred in three short hours and in the face of clear medical evidence that face coverings helps contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Many of those with objections cite the mistaken belief the requirement is unconstitutional, and under their theory, one cannot be forced to wear a mask. No law or court supports this view.”

The city’s news release did not specify where threats against employees or verbal abuse had occurred.

Stillwater Police Chief Jeff Watts issued a separate statement refuting social media claims that the department was checking motorists for face coverings, responding to complaints about them or ticketing those without coverings.

Friday’s amended proclamation also extended the city’s state of emergency through May 31.

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Staff Writer

Stetson covers breaking news, general assignment and other stories. He previously worked at the Enterprise-Journal in Mississippi. He is from Broken Arrow and graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University. Phone: 918-581-8466

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