Oklahoma City mayor tightens emergency order provisions in Saturday proclamation

Mayor David Holt has tightened provisions in his order declaring a state of emergency in Oklahoma City. The action was, a press release from the city government said, intended “to explicitly implement “Shelter in Place” from 11:59 p.m. March 28 through April 16.” 

For a longer version of this information, including a variety of links to information and available services, visit the City of Oklahoma City’s link here (https://www.okc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/3321/18)
The step taken Satirday was recommended by the Mayor’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group, and coordinated with the Tulsa city government, the press release said,  “for simultaneous implementation. Oklahoma City and Tulsa now join 43 of the nation’s other 50 largest cities in explicitly issuing a “Shelter in Place” order.”  For a longer version of this information, including a variety of links to information and available services, visit the City of Oklahoma City’s link here (https://www.okc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/3321/18)

Mayor Holt’s new proclamation incorporates previous closures and provides for local enforcement of the state government’s steps. “Our legal teams in Tulsa and Oklahoman City have been reviewing Governor Stitt’s March 24 executive orders, and believe they are functionally the same as ‘Shelter in Place’ orders in other American cities,” Holt said in the Saturday (March 28) press release. 

“However, because that terminology was not used, there has been concern that the effectiveness of the executive orders in reducing COVID-19 transmission has been affected. In consultation with our public health advisors in both cities, Mayor G.T. Bynum and I feel it is best to remove any confusion and explicitly state what is already largely true. We want to leave no doubt with our residents that the safest course of action during this public health crisis is to stay home, unless you are engaged in an essential job, essential errand, or outdoor physical activity.”

The “Shelter in Place” emergency order’s provisions, in summary form, are:

    •  Stay home, with a few exceptions.
    •  You can shop for groceries, medicine, gas, repairs, and other essential goods and services.
    •  You can go to a restaurant for takeout or drive-thru service.
    •  You can go to the doctor and take care of other essential needs.
    •  You can exercise outside, including on sidewalks, trails and in public parks. You can enjoy outdoor activities like long walks, bike rides and fishing. Green spaces in parks are open. But all playgrounds are closed. City-owned golf courses, fitness courts, dog parks, recreation center and sport courts (basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.) are closed.
    •  You can go to work in an essential job. You can also do business with someone working in an essential job. Those jobs are defined by the State of Oklahoma, using a federal list and one provided by the Governor. Find out more at okcommerce.gov/covid19.
    •  You can drive, bike, walk and take transit. You don’t need special ID or a permit. Police aren’t asking people to prove why they’re outside their home.
    •  You can work from home if you work in a job defined by the State as non-essential. You can also work with someone doing a non-essential job from home. Even if it’s an essential job, employers are encouraged to allow employees to work from home if possible.
    •  Staff are allowed on site even at closed non-essential businesses for basic tasks like maintenance and security.
    •  You can check on someone in need.
    •  You can donate at blood drives, volunteer at food banks and participate in other disaster response activities.
    •  Staff can be at faith-based sites to record or broadcast services.
    •  Stay 6 feet away from others, for your safety and theirs.
    •  Wash your hands before you leave your house, and as soon as you get home.
    •  You can call 911 if you have specific information about someone violating the order. Police may investigate. Officers will ask for voluntary compliance, but may use discretion to issue citations if necessary.

The press release also noted, “A violation of the City proclamation’s terms would be a Class ‘b’ misdemeanor under the City Code, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

The Saturday press release said, “The Mayor’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group meets by teleconference every day to assess the pandemic locally. The advisory group’s members make recommendations for Mayor Holt’s consideration, if they become necessary.”

The advisory group’s members are Dr. Patrick McGough, Hieremila Haile, OCCHD epidemiologist, Dr. Leslie Hudson, epidemiologist and former University of Oklahoma public health faculty member, Timothy Pehrson, president and chief executive officer of Integris Health, and Dr. Gary Raskob, chairman of the OCCHD Board of Health, and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma. 

According to Saturday’s press release, “The Oklahoma City Council will consider an unprecedented $5.5 million emergency relief program for local small businesses on Tuesday.” 
Local guidance on COVID-19, for which general symptoms are fever, a dry cough and shortness of break. 
    •  State officials report a critical shortage of testing.
    •  If you’re sick, do not go to the ER. Consult first with a health care provider. Regardless of whether tests show you have a common cold, the flu or COVID-19, doctors will tell most people to stay home, rest, get plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others.
    •  If your symptoms worsen, you have difficulty breathing or you have a fever for more than 72 hours, call your doctor. If you don’t have a primary care physician, call 2-1-1 to reach Heart Line Oklahoma. 
The press release stressed “these steps are crucial to ‘flatten the curve” and save your fellow Oklahomans’ lives and livelihoods. They will slow the rate of infection, save crucial medical resources for the sickest and most vulnerable patients, and help us return as soon as possible to a normal way of life.”

    •  Practice physical distancing. Stay home. Work from home if you can. 
    •  When you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others, including when picking up food and basic necessities. Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
    •  Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid crowded rooms, especially if you, a loved one or other people in the room are especially vulnerable.
    •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    •  If you’re sick, avoid close contact with other people.
    •  Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    •  When you must leave home, wash your hands as soon as you get back.
    •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    •  Cough or sneeze into a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash.