Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Oklahoma extends statewide business and movement restrictions related to COVID-19 activity through at least April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Lawton, Oklahoma
  • Woodward, Oklahoma
  • Enid, Oklahoma
  • Cushing, Oklahoma
  • Bartlesville, Oklahoma

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 19:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Oklahoma (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has extended an existing executive order declaring a statewide state of emergency, as well as imposing a series of movement and business restrictions as part of his administration's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The governor issued his seventh and most recent amendment to the order on April 1, mandating that all current restrictions remain in force in all 77 of Oklahoma's counties until at least April 30. Under an earlier amendment, the executive order would have expired April 24, although the specific provision on nonessential business closures had originally been set to expire on April 16.

The order stipulates only businesses and services considered essential may continue operating, including grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, banks, and energy, transport, security companies, as well as essential government services. Additionally, residents aged 65 years and older, as well as residents of all ages with medical problems, are required to stay in their homes except if working in a critical sector or performing essential errands, such as obtaining basic goods and medical services. Authorities also banned gatherings of 10 or more people and urged workers in essential services to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Nonessential businesses may continue to operate via remote work only.

Local authorities in Tulsa and Oklahoma City had also previously issued executive orders placing their cities under shelter-in-place directives between March 28-April 16. Under the measures, residents of Tulsa and Oklahoma City of all ages are ordered to remain at home, with exemptions made to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, seek medical care, exercise, and work at essential businesses. All public and private events and social gatherings are banned.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Oklahoma authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO Coronavirus Knowledge Base: www.who.int

Oklahoma COVID-19 Updates: govstatus.egov.com/oklahoma-coronavirus-information

Governor of Oklahoma's Executive Order: www.sos.ok.gov/documents/executive/1926.pdf

Tulsa Executive Order: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/media/12617/2020-04.pdf

Oklahoma City Executive Order: https://www.okc.gov/home/showdocument?id=16535