Muskogee’s city leaders who encourage people to wear face masks should take their own advice and wear them, too.

In a city council meeting on Sept. 28, some city councilors who passed a mandate a couple of months ago for people to wear their masks in city buildings, took off their masks at a certain point and failed to practice social distancing.

They were smart enough to create the guidelines. Now, they should follow them.

That would be the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

As of Tuesday, 18 of the 25 deaths in Muskogee County were in the city of Muskogee. That’s too many. People are becoming complacent and should be reminded to wear face masks, practice social distancing and wash hands frequently. 

At the same meeting, the council was told that masks would be required inside the Hatbox Event Center, including the arena and hangars during last weekend’s Jeep Jam. But pictures taken at the event show that the requirement was not being enforced. The chances of someone spreading COVID-19 at the event could happen.

City Manager Mike Miller told city councilors and those attending the meeting that now is not the time to let down their guard.

“If you look around the audience, we do have a mask rule for our city facilities,” he said. “If you’re not wearing a mask here at this meeting today, you need to be wearing a mask.”

At that same meeting, photos were taken and later posted online that show several people without masks or who had taken them off. City councilors shouldn’t tell people to wear a mask and then remove it for a photo op. And, there’s no social distancing in those photos. People were hugging and lined up closely for photos.

If the city is going to preach it, then city leaders should follow their own advice. Wearing masks saves lives. 

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