This collection of stories includes key highlights of the News & Eagle staff's extensive coverage of the city of Enid's mask mandate dispute, recall efforts and various key elections, appointments and votes during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Also included is a two-part series about the ultimately unsuccessful efforts of Enid Freedom Fighters, a local grassroots group, to recall then-Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell, an attempt that continued into January 2021.

The collection was compiled as part of the Enid News & Eagle's year-end 2021 coverage and following a New York Times article about the city of Enid published on Dec. 26, 2021.

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Enid Mayor George Pankonin on Friday signed an amended emergency declaration to take effect Saturday night that outlines several new procedures, including a stay-at-home order, closure of non-essential businesses and closure of city of Enid facilities.

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A majority also approved three plan amendments, allowing immediate sports teams practices, funerals and weddings with more than 10 people and outdoor graduations for area high schools, the latter two proposed by Ward 1 Commissioner Jerry Allen.

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Enid City Commission voted against an ordinance requiring people to wear masks in public areas after an emergency meeting lasting more than four hours Wednesday.

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Enid will not adopt the state’s COVID-19 alert system that would have mandated face coverings when necessary social distancing would not be possible.

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The Enid group seeking to recall Ward 3 City Commissioner Ben Ezzell said its members are “disappointed and perplexed” by the city commission’…

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The Enid Freedom Fighters earlier this afternoon submitted to the city clerk a petition with around 1,300 signatures from registered voters in Garfield County, according to a press release.

The Enid Maskers Facebook group organizers pared down their petition to 812 legitimate signatures of people either from or with ties to Enid, according to the group admins.

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The grassroots group Enid Freedom Fighters filed a recall petition on Aug. 4, upset over Commissioner Ben Ezzell’s actions while in office. City Clerk Alissa Lack certified the petition Aug. 7, verifying that 87 of the 204 collected signatures were sufficient for a recall to be ordered under Enid City Charter rules.

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  • Updated

Under the ordinance, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday, all people in Enid must wear a face covering consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in any indoor location.

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Under the extended mandate, which commissioners first passed Dec. 1, all ordinance provisions, exemptions and enforcement policies will remain the same until the declaration expires after April 30.

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Melissa Crabtree, an administrator of the Enid Freedom Fighters group involved in the recall and the resulting court case, told commissioners the ordinance still didn’t tell them specifically not to table a motion setting a date for a recall election. She said this omission took power away from the public who were exercising their rights by requesting the recall in the first place.