Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Oklahoma, US, extend and broaden statewide business and movement restrictions through at least May 2 due to COVID-19 activity.

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 07 Apr 2020 02:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Oklahoma (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 2
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has extended and broadened 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), through at least May 2. Under the order, all persons entering Oklahoma from any area with substantial community spread, including but not limited to the states of California, Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, must self-quarantine for 14 days. Such persons must also inform everyone in Oklahoma with whom they have direct physical contact that they have arrived from an area with significant community spread. Personnel employed by critical infrastructure projects, as well as military and emergency personnel are exempt from the order.

The order also stipulates that only essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, fuel stations, banks, energy, transport, and security companies, as well as critical government services, may continue operating. Additionally, residents aged 65 years and older, as well as residents of all ages with serious underlying medical conditions, 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 until at least 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

Governor of Oklahoma's Executive Order: sos.ok.gov

Tulsa Executive Order: cityoftulsa.org

Oklahoma City Executive Order: okc.gov