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City of Tulsa Frequently Asked Questions

Return to the COVID-19 Resource Center


Updated January 21, 2021 3:30 p.m.

The City of Tulsa has issued an ordinance to address safety plans for events, Tulsa Health Department enforcement, and expanding places of public accommodation. 


 

Documents:

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Where can I go for the latest information on ordinances/executive orders/masks/COVID-19?

How can I ensure my event is compliant to the new City of Tulsa COVID-19 safety measures?
No events or gatherings with 150 attendees or more may be held in the City of Tulsa without a safety plan approved by the Tulsa Health Department. A safety plan must be submitted via email a minimum of 14-calendar days prior to the event. Submit A Safety Plan

Do places of worship have to submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan?
If the place of worship expects attendance of 150 people or more, then yes. If a safety plan isn't submitted with attendance of 150 people or more, THD and City code enforcement will enforce. THD and the City have now have the right to declare the place of worship a public nuisance if they either do not submit a safety plan and gather with more than 150 people, or if they submit a safety plan and do not adhere to that safety plan. THD will work with each place of public accommodation to ensure safety guidelines are being met. Submit A Safety Plan

Do funerals and weddings need a COVID-19 Safety Plan?
If attendance is expected at 150 or more, then yes. Safety plans must be submitted no less than 14 calendar days prior to your event. Submit A Safety Plan

What are the operational and separational requirements for restaurants, bars and places of public accommodation?
Restaurants, bars, and all places of public accommodation serving, selling, or permitting on premises consumption of food and/or beverages shall ensure a minimum of six feet of separation between parties or groups at different tables, booths, or bar tops, unless the tables or booths are separated by properly sanitized glass or plexiglass.

Who will oversee compliance enforcement?
The City of Tulsa gratefully supports the Tulsa City-County Health Department in its efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Tulsa gives the Tulsa City-County Health Department the authority to enforce the City’s COVID-19 ordinances in places of public accommodation, public settings, restaurants and bars.

Where can I file a complaint against a business who is non-compliant?
To report non-compliance with existing City ordinances regarding COVID-19 measures, visit  www.tulsa-health.org/COVIDcomplaint. Residents should only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

What fines and penalties are associated with the change in the ordinance?
Violators will be declared a public nuisance and will be subject to abatement and criminal fines and penalties. Though there are no fines for individuals not complying, individuals disregarding the City’s COVID-19 ordinances in places of public accommodation are subject to trespassing and other applicable offenses.

What is the City’s definition of a “public nuisance?”
A public nuisance consists of unlawfully doing an act or omitting to perform a duty, which act or omission:

  • Annoys, injures or endangers the safety, health, comfort or repose of others;
  • Offends public decency;
  • Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct, or renders dangerous for passage a la.ke or basin or any public park, square, alley, highway or street;
  • In any way renders other persons insecure in life or in the use of property.

What is a "Place of Public Accommodation?"
Most of the stores and service providers in town. It is impossible to list all, but here are some examples:

  • Houses of worship and ancillary facilities
  • Retail and department stores
  • Gyms/Spas
  • Event centers
  • Entertainment venues
  • Catering companies
  • Food service facilities
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Farm stores
  • Boutiques and Jewelers
  • Clothing stores
  • Sporting goods and apparel stores
  • Antique stores
  • Art studios
  • Craft Stores
  • Furniture and home stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Liquor stores
  • Tobacco and vaping stores
  • Beauty salons
  • Barbershops
  • Spas and tanning salons
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Movie theatres
  • Bowling alleys
  • Skating Rinks
  • Restaurants
  • Bars and taverns
  • Hotels and motels
  • Travel agencies
  • Florists
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Law offices
  • Accountant offices
  • Engineering firms
  • Financial consultant firms
  • Automobile dealerships
  • Tractor and agricultural supply dealerships
  • Motorcycle dealerships
  • Automobile repair shops
  • Tire dealers

What is the City’s definition of a “bar?”
A ‘bar’ is any location or premises which has as its main purpose the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, notwithstanding that as an incidental service, meals or short-order foods are made available therein.

Determination of the ’main purpose’ of a location or premises is that determined by the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission pursuant to Title 37A, Section 6-114, of the Oklahoma Statutes.

The term ‘Bar’ also includes taverns, brewpubs, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, other places of public accommodation offering alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, hookah bars, cigar bars, and vaping lounges offering their products for on-premise consumption, whether or not such businesses offer food or beverages for sale

What is the City’s definition of a “restaurant?”
‘Restaurant’ shall be defined as any location or premises which has as its main purpose the sale of food to customers for on-premises consumption and shall include and encompass food courts, cafes, and coffeehouses.

What is a "Public Setting?"
Any public place where people congregate that does not fit the definition of Public Accommodation or Educational Institution. These places can be either indoors or outdoors in certain circumstances.

Examples include:

  • Offices
  • Workplaces
  • Places of religious worship and fellowship halls
  • Fraternal organization halls and facilities
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Medical, psychiatric and dental clinics
  • Gymnasiums and physical fitness facilities
  • Ballfields and courts
  • Golf courses and clubhouses
  • Sidewalks and trails
  • Parks
  • Swimming pools and splash pads

Why is the City of Tulsa adopting this ordinance now?
These newly passed ordinances build upon the City’s existing mask mandate, which requires a mask for all persons 10 years old and older in public settings and in places of public accommodation. Additionally, these new ordinances ensure the governor’s latest executive order is being followed in Tulsa city limits.

When will this ordinance take effect?

Mayor Bynum intends to sign these new ordinances on Wednesday, November 24, 2020, at which time they will take effect.

When will the amended ordinance expire?
This ordinance will expire on January 31, 2021 or the expiration of all Civil Emergency Orders related to COVID-19 issued by the Mayor; or repeal, modification or extension by the City Council through a subsequent ordinance.

Read the Amended Civil Emergency Order - July 2, 2020


Should we continue social distancing?
Yes, individuals should continue social distancing per the CDC guidelines. Businesses should observe proper CDC-recommended social distancing protocols.

What opened June 1? 
In Tulsa, summer camps opened back up, visitation to hospitals is allowed within the guidelines of the OURS plan, and by appointment only businesses may allow walk-ins at their discretion. Along with this, special event permits started to be issued for larger gatherings. 

I have more questions than what’s listed here. Who do I contact?
For clarification, the State of Oklahoma Department of Commerce website has the most up-to-date information regarding this order. On that page, they have a section titled “OURS Plan Help.” There is a webform link there you can use to submit questions to the State of Oklahoma. The State’s 2-1-1 hotline is also another resource.

Where can I get guidance for my business? 
The Tulsa Health Department has guidance available on their COVID-19 page for businesses, including: General Business, Food Establishments, Childcare Centers, Fitness Centers, Personal Care: Salons and Barbers, Nonprofit Organizations, Places of Worship, and Public Bathing.

Are full-service restaurants open?
Yes, but under certain guidelines. All must adhere to strict sanitation and disinfecting protocols. Please note the same capacity guidelines for bars do not apply to restaurants. Restaurants should continue to follow the State's Guidance. If you have questions about capacity at your business, contact firemarshal@cityoftulsa.org.

Are bars open?
Yes. The updated OURS Plan encourages bars to practice enhanced sanitation and social distancing measures. Please note the same capacity guidelines for bars do not apply to restaurants. Restaurants should continue to follow the State's Guidance. Dr. Bruce Dart with the Tulsa Health Department is leading an effort with local business owners to come up with best practices for bars in the City of Tulsa. Interested parties should visit www.tulsa-health.org for specific guidance as it becomes available.

Are playgrounds open in Tulsa?
Yes. Playground equipment, including outdoor workout equipment, and basketball courts are open. Walking paths, biking and disc golf will continue to be permitted, so long as social distancing is practiced. Tulsa Parks Reopening Guidelines

Are City golf courses, tennis courts, Pickleball, and sports fields open?
Yes. City-owned golf courses, tennis courts, and Pickleball courts are open, but all will adhere to strict sanitation guidelines and patrons will be strongly encouraged to practice social distancing.

Are dog parks open?
Yes, dog parks are open, but with strict physical distancing and sanitation precautions in place. Tulsa Parks Reopening Guidelines

Have community centers reopened and/or will they start offering programming again?
Yes. City-owned community centers will open on June 1. Centers will open with updated hours and limited programming. Tulsa Parks Reopening Guidelines 

Can I visit a relative/friend in the nursing home after June 1?
No. Those 65 years or older and those with underlying health conditions are still at a greater risk of a more severe case of COVID-19 illness. Currently, no visits to these facilities are allowed.

Can I host an event?
Yes, you can host events under OURS Phase 3 Reopening. Please practice all CDC-recommended guidelines for social distancing.

Can weddings or funerals resume?
Yes, funerals and weddings can resume.

Are people allowed in private swimming pools (houses, homeowner’s associations, etc.)?
Each privately owned pool can have their own requirements for the pool’s use. The City defers to CDC guidance as it relates to safety, proper sanitation and social distancing measures.

Am I allowed to travel out-of-state/can someone from out-of-state travel to see me?
Currently, there is no travel ban prohibiting travel in Oklahoma, nor is there a quarantine requirement for Oklahomans returning from another state. Out-of-state visitors should check with their home state on any potential travel restrictions or requirements.

Are masks required in Tulsa?
Yes. A citywide mask ordinance is in effect. For more information and to see a list of exemptions to the ordinance, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/masks

Just because my business can reopen, does it have to?
No! Do what is best for the health of your organization and its employees.

Can I get a special permit issued?
Yes, special events permits can be issued.

Are entertainment venues open?
Yes, as outlined in the State’s Phase One Reopening Plan, the limitation of gatherings do not apply. For questions, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce website and submit your inquiry to the State.

Can grocery stores continue operations as normal?
Grocery stores and other stores that have been open throughout this pandemic should continue to maintain hours for vulnerable populations and continue to practice strict sanitary measures and measures to encourage social distancing.

Are Pet Care/Pet Grooming Businesses open?
Yes. These businesses actually were allowed to open back up statewide, by appointment only, beginning April 24, 2020. Because the City’s Safer at Home Order was still in place at that time, these businesses were allowed to open in Tulsa starting May 1 by appointment only.

Are spas and tanning salons open?
Yes. These businesses actually were allowed to open back up statewide, with walk-ins allowed under Phase 3.

Are tattoo parlors open?
Yes. The same rules for by-appointment-only salons apply to tattoo parlors.

Will businesses get fined or shutdown if they don’t adhere to state guidelines?
If businesses aren’t adhering to the state’s guidelines, the City of Tulsa can enforce those guidelines based on THD and City health nuisance laws. To make a non-emergency report with Tulsa Police, call (918) 596-9222. For other questions on statewide enforcement, call 2-1-1.

Who do I contact for health nuisances under our existing ordinance?
To report a concern about a food establishment, call (918) 595-4300 or visit www.tulsa-health.org/food-safety/restaurant-inspections/complaint-form. For environmental health complaints (including employee concerns about non-food businesses), call (918) 582-WELL (9355) or (918( 595-4200. For complaints received by 311, call (918) 585-4200 or email EHSComplaints@tulsa-health.org.

Where can I go for the latest information on Masks and COVID-19?

What does the Mask Ordinance say?
“Except as otherwise provided herein, persons located within Public Service Areas of Places of Public Accommodation or an Educational Building are required to wear face coverings at all times when present therein. Except as otherwise provided herein, persons in any Public Setting wherein social or physical distancing cannot be maintained are required to wear face coverings.”

What is an acceptable face covering?
"Face Covering" means a covering that fully covers a person's nose and mouth. The term "Face Covering" includes, but is not limited to, cloth face masks, towels, scarves, and bandanas as recommended by the CDC or Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). An N95, KN95, or other mask would be appropriate for a healthcare setting, or a surgical mask. The Face Covering should fit snuggly on a person's face but allow the person to breathe easily when it is worn under the guidance provided by the CDC or OSDH.

Who is required to wear a mask in Tulsa?
Everyone 10 years old or older is required to wear a mask in places of public accommodation in Tulsa city limits. The Tulsa City Council on Sept. 30, 2020, passed an amendment to the existing mask ordinance, lowering the age requirement for those required to wear masks from 18 years old to 10 years old.

Is my child required to wear a mask?
If your child is 10 years old or older, they are required to wear a mask in places of public accommodation and in places where social distancing isn’t possible, such as places like the grocery store, etc.

I have a child younger than 10 years old. Are they required to wear a mask?
By City ordinance, no.

My school district says my child needs to wear a mask, but this ordinance exempts masks for those under the age of 10. Which should I follow?
Parents should adhere to their specific school district on guidance as it relates to masks when returning to school. The school district may require your child to wear a mask, depending on your specific district. Check with your district as to their guidelines on masks in schools.

I’m afraid my child won’t wear the mask and/or will keep touching it constantly. What should I do?
It’s asked parents educate their children on the importance of proper mask-wearing and hygiene safety. Parents who normalize mask-wearing themselves and who lead by example could help set the precedent for their children. Additionally, the better your child’s mask fits, the less likely they will be to constantly touch it throughout the day. Please ask your child to refrain from swapping or touching other children’s masks and be sure to wash/swap out your child’s mask with a new/clean one after each use.

How long will the face covering ordinance remain in effect?
The ordinance will expire the earlier of January 31, 2021, or when the expiration of all Civil Emergency Orders related to COVID-19 issued by the Mayor; or by repeal, modification or extension by the City Council through a subsequent ordinance.

Why is the City of Tulsa adopting a face covering ordinance?
The number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in Tulsa has increased since July. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans and can spread from person to person. The current scientific understanding of this virus from the CDC indicates that it spreads mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. These respiratory droplets can land in the mouths or on noses of nearby people or can possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet). Currently, there is no vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19.

Visit the State Health Department’s Dashboard.

Why are face coverings required? I’ve heard they can make you sick and have been proven to not protect you.
The transmission of COVID-19 remains a significant threat to the health and safety of the Tulsa community and rates of infection are increasing at an alarming, exponential rate. Health experts agree that implementing protective health measures, such as social distancing and face coverings, help in reducing the rate of transmission of the virus.

Cloth face coverings aren’t primarily intended to protect the wearer. They are intended primarily to protect others in the vicinity of the wearer. COVID-19 spreads more easily through respiratory droplets produced when a person talks, coughs and sneezes. A simple cloth face covering has proven effective in reducing the spread of the wearer’s respiratory droplets. CDC, THD and OSDH all agree cloth face coverings offer this protection with little-to-no negative health impacts to the wearer.

Medical grade masks, such as N95 respirators, should be saved for healthcare professionals. Those masks offer the wearer more protection than cloth face coverings do, and with the current surge in hospital capacity, N95 respirators are in high demand and low inventory has impacted the public’s ability to access to these masks.

Are there exceptions to the face covering ordinance?
Yes, they are listed below:

  • Persons who fall into the CDC’s guidance for those who should not wear Face Coverings due to a medical or mental health condition or developmental disability
  • Children under 10 years of age
  • Restaurant patrons while they are eating or drinking (patrons waiting in the lobbies of these establishments should be wearing face coverings)
    • Persons exercising in communal outdoor spaces, or persons walking or exercising with other persons from the same household in communal outdoor spaces, as long as Physical Distancing is maintained
    • Persons congregating in communal outdoor spaces with other persons not in their same household are required to wear Face Coverings when Physical Distancing is not maintained
  • Settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a Face Covering, such as dental services, medical treatments while swimming, or when engaged in athletic team activities where the level of exertion makes wearing a Face Covering impractical
    • Occupants in a personal vehicle, personal office, or similarly private space while other persons outside of the person's household are not present
    • Private homes
    • Offices and workplaces that are not Public Service Areas where Physical Distancing between employees and other occupants can be consistently maintained during hours of operation

Does the face covering ordinance apply to non-public areas?
Face coverings are not required in any non-public area, such as a private office or work area, as long as the persons present are able to maintain physical distancing from others not from the same household.

What is a "Public Service Area?"
“Public Service Area” means areas of a Place of Public Accommodation or an Educational Institution wherein employees interact with the public in the normal course of business. These could be lobbies, waiting areas and other similar locations.

What is a "Place of Public Accommodation?"
Most of the stores and service providers in town. It is impossible to list all, but here are some examples:

  • Retail and department stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Farm stores
  • Boutiques and Jewelers
  • Clothing stores
  • Sporting goods and apparel stores
  • Antique stores
  • Art studios
  • Craft Stores
  • Furniture and home stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Marijuana dispensaries
  • Liquor stores
  • Tobacco and vaping stores
  • Beauty salons
  • Barbershops
  • Spas and tanning salons
  • Tattoo Parlors
  • Movie theatres
  • Bowling alleys
  • Skating Rinks
  • Restaurants
  • Bars and taverns
  • Hotels and motels
  • Travel agencies
  • Florists
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Law offices
  • Accountant offices
  • Engineering firms
  • Financial consultant firms
  • Automobile dealerships
  • Tractor and agricultural supply dealerships
  • Motorcycle dealerships
  • Automobile repair shops
  • Tire dealers

What is an "Educational Institution?"
“Educational Institution” means any building or facility used for academic or athletic purposes on public school campuses, and any private school or preschool. This term excludes the playing surface of any athletic facility during organized activities and practices.

What is a "Public Setting?"
Any public place where people congregate that does not fit the definition of Public Accommodation or Educational Institution. These places can be either indoors or outdoors in certain circumstances.
Examples include:

  • Offices
  • Workplaces
  • Places of religious worship and fellowship halls
  • Fraternal organization halls and facilities
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Medical, psychiatric and dental clinics
  • Gymnasiums and physical fitness facilities
  • Ballfields and courts
  • Golf courses and clubhouses
  • Sidewalks and trails
  • Parks
  • Swimming pools and splash pads
  • Food trucks and other itinerant merchants

Can my business deny entry to those not wearing masks?
Businesses may deny entry to any patron who refuses to wear a face mask. Businesses may use TPD’s non-emergency number, (918) 596-9222, to report non-compliance for someone who is trespassing after being told to leave.

Are my employees and staff required to wear face coverings at all times?
Employees and staff are required to wear face coverings whenever they are working in an area where they will interact with the public when the public is present. Additionally, restaurant, coffee shop, and bar employees are required to wear masks, pursuant to the City’s existing 2020-13 Executive Order

Face coverings must be worn in offices and work areas not open to the public whenever social and physical distancing cannot be maintained.

What are the fines/consequences of non-compliance?
Though there is no penalty directly related to non-compliance, violators refusing to wear a face covering into a Place of Public Accommodation, Educational Institution, or Public Setting will be subject to prosecution under criminal trespass, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct or similar offenses as circumstances warrant.

An example of this would include a grocery store manager who asked a patron to leave because that patron was refusing to wear a mask. The grocery store manager could make a complaint to the TPD non-emergency number, (918) 596-9222, and officers could cite that individual for trespassing. Similarly, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct in relation to individuals refusing to wear a mask will also be enforced.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I go to a restaurant?
Yes, a face covering is required when entering a restaurant. When you are sitting at the table and/or eating or drinking, you may remove your face covering. However, when getting up to visit the restroom or leaving the restaurant, you will be required to put it back on.

Do I have to wear a face covering when I go into a casino?
No. Because casinos are sovereign land, this ordinance does not apply. Any mask mandate inside the casino would be the responsibility of the casino itself.

Should I still practice social distancing while exercising outdoors?
Yes, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from others while engaging in physical activities, even when outdoors, reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Do people need to wear face coverings while working out in a gym?
Only if they cannot maintain 6 feet of separation from non-household members in the gym.

I have a reason I cannot wear a face covering. Am I required to document or prove that?
No, the ordinance does not require you to document or prove a reason for not wearing a face covering. If a business won’t allow you to enter their office or store, ask them what accommodations they can provide, such as curbside pick-up, delivery or virtual meeting options.

Should I say something if someone near me isn’t wearing a face covering?
The mask requirement is intended to promote public health and safety, not public arguments or confrontations. If you feel your health and safety is threatened, you may politely ask the other person to maintain at least a 6-foot distance. Because of HIPAA laws, which regulate the release of personal health information, you cannot ask them to provide a health condition, as defined by the CDC, as to why they are unable to wear a mask.

Masks can be hard to find at the store. Any help here?
Face coverings can be made from a variety of household materials that most people have at their disposal. You can even make a face covering from an extra shirt you have lying around, if you have nothing else. For an easy-to-make cloth face covering using only a bandana and hair ties, watch this video.

What should I do if I see someone not wearing a mask?
Unless the person is violating the law, such as trespassing, engaging in disorderly conduct or is disturbing the peace, you don’t need to report the incident. If the person is engaging in one of those violations, you can make a report to www.tulsa-health.org/COVIDcomplaint. Residents should only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

What happens if I refuse to wear a face covering as required by the ordinance? Is there a penalty?
It depends on the circumstances. If you go to a business or other place that is covered by the ordinance without a face covering, the establishment has the right to ask you to either put on a face covering on before entering or they can ask you to leave. If you refuse to do either, the manager can, at his or her sole discretion, call the police and an officer will be dispatched to assist. If you still refuse to comply with the face covering requirement, the establishment can sign a complaint and the police officer will issue you a citation for trespassing and direct you to leave immediately. If you cause a disturbance, threaten or use physical violence to enter, you can be arrested accordingly.

Is wearing a face covering safe? It feels hard to breathe when I wear one.
While some people have health conditions that make face coverings unsafe, they are safe for nearly all of us, even if they feel uncomfortable at first and take a while to get used to. Public health experts agree face coverings are an important tool in preventing COVID and research is increasingly suggesting widespread use is effective. Make sure your face covering covers your mouth and nose but isn’t overly tight or restrictive. Choose a soft fabric such as cotton knit or use a bandana or scarf if that feels more comfortable. Visit CDC’s website to learn how to ensure your face covering is worn properly.

I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Oklahoma, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
Yes. Wearing a mask is only prohibited by state law if it is worn “during the commission of a crime or for the purpose of coercion, intimidation or harassment,” or if you commit an assault with a dangerous weapon while masked in disguise
§ 1301. Masks and Hoods - Unlawful to Wear - Exceptions
§ 1302. Trespass - Demanding Admission to Premises - Unlawful
§ 1303. Assaults - While Masked - Felony