Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Oklahoma, US, to lift some business restrictions April 24 and May 1. Other restrictions will continue until further notice.

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 23 Apr 2020 15:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Oklahoma (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced measures to lift some business restrictions starting April 24 and May 1, as part of the state's response to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to the measures, residents 65 years and older, and those with underlying health conditions, should continue to remain at home, except to perform essential tasks. Starting April 24, personal care businesses, including barbershops, hair salons, spas, and pet groomers, will be allowed to reopen for appointments only, and while maintaining a proper distance between customers. Customers must remain inside their vehicles while they wait for their appointment. State parks and outdoor recreation areas can also reopen starting April 24.

Starting May 1, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and sports venues can reopen, as well as places of worship, and tattoo parlors for appointments only. All businesses must enhance sanitation, close common areas where employees may gather, ensure proper distance between customers and workers, and avoid gatherings. Employers should screen workers temperatures and monitor for possible symptoms, not allow symptomatic employees to work, and provide appropriate protective equipment.

Schools, bars, and organized sports events and camps will remain closed until further notice. All measures to lift restrictions will apply only to cities and counties that do not have stricter restrictions. Authorities in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman have said they plan to maintain business and movement restrictions through at least April 30.

Additionally, until at least May 9, all persons entering Oklahoma from any area with substantial community COVID-19 transmission - 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.

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 relaxation of some measures are likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. 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 - Open Up and Recover Safely Plan: https://www.okcommerce.gov/

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