The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously in a special meeting on Wednesday afternoon to adopt an ordinance clarifying penalties for businesses in violation of emergency measures the city voted to adopt on Tuesday. The ordinance specifies that businesses found in violation of the emergency measures “shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days.”
The resolution that was passed on Tuesday declared a state of civil emergency in Oxford and requires that all restaurant and bar dining rooms be closed to patrons until April 2. The ordinance passed on Wednesday carries the same time frame.
However, the board clarified that the penalties outlined in the ordinance are the maximum penalties allowed by the state of Mississippi; penalties will ultimately be decided by a judge, not the city or police.
“I just want to be clear with our restaurants that we feel very strongly about trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we believe this is an effective measure for doing so,” Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill said. “I also want to be clear and transparent about what the penalty is if you don’t follow this.”
The city will reassess the measures after the current time period expires.