A Message from Eric Marshall

"Last week we joined together with several other local breweries to ask for a city mask mandate.  Since then, we have heard from several citizens, while most have been overwhelmingly positive, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts as to why I decided this was important for those who are displeased.  

For those hurling insults our way because you disagree with this step or are upset we are now requiring masks in our taproom,  I respect your decision to think I am an idiot, but here is my perspective on this issue.  I lost my father-in-law as a result of this virus and I have two young children who are currently in school and unable to get vaccinated.  One of my children did not even make his first full week of school without being quarantined due to one of the children in his pod testing positive for COVID.  We are hopeful this is just precautionary, but due to what we have already been through as a family, this is stressful.  Call it a hoax or fake news or whatever you will if a COVID death or serious illness has not yet affected you, but the reality is that this is a problem.

In response to people who say you can't drink a beer with a mask on, that is a fact and I will not argue against that.   I understand the virus doesn't disappear when one sits down at a table, but we took a position to encourage a mask mandate so that there would be a broad effort to mitigate virus spread within the community.  If people are making a concerted effort to reduce the spread everywhere with a layered approach then we will hopefully start heading in the right direction.  So, when people are in common areas and in the faces of people they don't know, we are asking them to wear a mask.  When they sit down at their table and take their masks off next to the people they are with, there has been some effort taken to help minimize potential transmissibility. The more this is happening throughout the city the more impactful it is and hopefully helps diminish the spread.  This is not a political move or “virtue signaling”, it is an effort the breweries in this city collectively came to after listening to the community health professionals' asks for this from city leadership because of the necessity in helping to reduce the stress on our hospital workers. Our community health professionals have nothing to gain in a red state by advocating for this.

One of my best friends is an ER doctor here in Tulsa and has treated people throughout this entire pandemic.  He told me 3 days ago that this is the worst he has seen things ever.  We were 4th in the nation this week in hospitalizations and the people dying are younger and healthier. When people claim “masks don’t work”, I’ll take the word from my friend on the front lines and his colleagues seeing the worst of the worst of these cases.  Their take on masks is vastly different.  These front line workers are also suffering from compassion fatigue as they are overloaded and frustrated because they feel this could largely be avoided with masks, hand washing, and vaccinations.  So, for those who feel they don't work, we will have to agree to disagree on the claim that they are ineffective.  Most of the bad cases are amongst the population who have chosen not to be vaccinated, but the latest variant spreading is not discriminating even though vaccinated people are having less serious illness.  So this isn't an attempt to take away anyone's freedom, it is an attempt to help save lives asked by the doctors who are treating the critically ill.  

Also, there is a large population of children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.  Last week brought news that an 8th grader from Oklahoma City died of COVID and larger percentages of hospitalizations in neighboring states are children.  As a parent, this is extremely concerning.  Call it fear mongering, being sheepish, or whatever you will, but because I get to now explain on a weekly basis to my 5 year old why his healthy and fit 74 grandfather will not get to teach him how to play golf (which was his favorite past time) and because I also have to worry about the safety of my children simply by letting them go to elementary school, I decided we were going to make this ask for masks.  

I have personally refrained from responding to messages and after a few days of a variety of comments we decided to turn that function off of our social media due to the unproductive nature of some of the comments.  However, because so many people took the time to share their thoughts for and against, I thought these comments warranted my explanation.  I am sorry to those of you who feel our request for a mask mandate is overstepping.   On the basic level of that I will not disagree at all, but call it selfishness if you wish, I feel we need wide spread efforts made to protect our community.   I am sorry to those of you who are disappointed in my perspective, but believe me I am disappointed that I even felt the need to make this ask, as I am sure the other brewery owners are who joined in this effort.  We have always tried to be good partners in the community and this is why we feel strongly about this issue at this time with regards to community safety.  I don't like wearing a mask, none of my employees like wearing a mask, my kids don't like wearing masks, but if we all band together hopefully we can move past this soon and go back to disagreeing about OU vs. OSU (Go TU!) or something like that.  I fully understand not everyone will agree with me and that my response may anger people further, but I wanted to take this opportunity to respectfully provide you all with my perspective since some of you took the time to contact us with your concerns.  While we are moving forward with requiring masks in our taproom, we are currently working on other options for our customers who do not wish to wear a mask, but still wish to visit us.  We are once again offering curbside and are exploring more options for ordering while seated outside in the biergarten.  I appreciate everyone's concern and I hope everyone stays healthy."

Eric Marshall


Marshall Brewing Company