Governor Stitt Announces Plan For State To Begin Reopening In Phases

Governor Stitt announced on Wednesday that Oklahoma has flattened the curve and made "tremendous progress" according to KFOR.

The number of hospitalizations peaked at 560 on March 30th and continued to trend down for the entire month of April. 298 Oklahomans are in the hospital with COVID-19. Governor Stitt said the state has 15x that amount of hospital beds currently available and new cases are continuing to decline.

Based on this data, the state will now begin reopening in three phases.

Phase One

Under Phase One, Oklahoma should continue to follow Safer-At Home guidelines, social distancing, and avoid social gatherings in groups or facilities.

Nonessential travel is still minimized.

Employers should create plans to allow employees to return to work in phases. Break rooms should also remain closed.

Those considered to be in the vulnerable population should have special accommodations from their employers.

Beginning Friday, personal care businesses can open if they adhere to strict sanitation and social distancing protocols.

Personal care businesses include hair salons, barber shops, spas, and nail salons.

Customers must continue to social distance, and businesses are encouraged to let customers wait in their car until it is time for their appointment, and take temperatures.

Then, starting on May 1, the following businesses can open statewide if they adhere to the sanitation and social distancing protocols.

  • Restaurants’ dining rooms
  • Movie theaters
  • Sporting venues
  • Gyms
  • Places of worship can open for in-person worship, provided that staff and volunteers wear a mask, do not serve food and coffee, and keep nurseries closed

Bars will remain closed.

If the hospital rates remain manageable for 14 days, the state would move to Phase Two.

Phase Two

Elderly and vulnerable Oklahomans will continue to follow Safer-At-Home guidelines.

Nonessential travel can resume.

Employers should still close common areas and gathering places.

Organized sport activities can reopen under strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Bars will also be allowed to reopen with diminished standing room occupancy, social distancing and sanitation.

Funerals and weddings can resume with no more than 10 people.

Children’s areas and places of worship can reopen.

If hospital and incident rates once again remain manageable, the state would move to Phase Three.

Stitt says once the state is in Phase Two, guidance on Phase Three will be released.

He also says if numbers increase during this time, the state will pull back.

“We need to continue practice social distancing,” he said. “Do our part. Wear a mask if you’re in public. We will pull back if there is an increase in hospitalizations.”

Mayors across Oklahoma are taking to social media to share plans for their cities after the Governor's announcement today.

Here's the full press release from the Governor's Office:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GOVERNOR STITT ANNOUNCES “OPEN UP AND RECOVER SAFELY” PLAN

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 22, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt today held a press conference to provide an update on the State’s response to COVID-19 and introduce the State’s Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan.

“From the beginning it has been my intent to protect the health and lives of Oklahomans, especially our vulnerable populations, and mitigate the impact to Oklahoma’s economy and get Oklahomans safely back to work,” said Gov. Stitt. “We have put together a group of industry professionals from across our state, and they have been working with my Governor’s Solution Task Force and our health advisors to develop a way to get back open safely. As we begin to responsibly implement this measured response, we will continue to prioritize the safety of Oklahomans and base all decisions on the data in our state.”

Under current White House guidelines Oklahoma has met all necessary criteria to begin proceeding to a phased opening, including a downward trajectory of documented cases and the ability to treat all patients without crisis care.

Similar to the White House guidelines, the OURS plan is a three-phased approach to open Oklahoma’s economy back up starting April 24, 2020. This statewide plan is:

  • Based on scientific modeling from public health experts
  • Intended to mitigate risk of resurgence
  • Intended to protect Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens from the threat of COVID-19
  • Intended for businesses and individuals to utilize in conjunction with guidance from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Oklahoma State Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Phase 1 guidance includes:

  • Elderly and vulnerable Oklahomans should continue to follow the safer-at-home guidelines.
  • Oklahomans should continue to maximize their physical distance from others when in public, avoid socializing in groups or facilities that do not allow for appropriate physical distancing, and minimize non-essential travel.
  • Employers should create plans to allow employees to return to work in phases, close common areas or enforce social distancing protocols, minimize non-essential travel and honor requests of employees who are part of a vulnerable population for special accommodations.
  • Starting on April 24, personal care businesses can reopen for appointments only if they adhere to strict sanitation protocols and are in communities that do not have more restrictions in place. This includes: hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers. These businesses must maintain distance between customers and encourage customers to wait in their car until it is time for their appointment to avoid congestion in the lobbies or entrances.
  • Starting on April 24, State parks and outdoor recreation areas can be reopened.
  • Grocery stores should continue to maintain special hours for vulnerable populations.
  • Starting on May 1, restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms and sporting venues can re-open statewide if they adhere to strict social distancing and sanitation protocols.
  • Starting on May 1, Places of worship can reopen for in-person meetings or worship, if they leave every other row or pew open and adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols, plus the recommended guidelines from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
  • Starting on May 1, Tattoo Parlors can reopen for appointments only and must adhere to sanitation protocols and social distancing protocols for distancing between customers and visitors.
  • During Phase 1, visits to senior living facilities and hospitals are prohibited and bars, schools, organized sporting events and camps should remain closed until further notice.

If Oklahoma’s hospital and incident rates remain manageable for 14 days, the State will move to Phase 2.

Phase 2 guidance includes:

·Elderly and vulnerable Oklahomans should continue to follow the safer-at-home guidelines.

·Oklahomans should continue to maintain physical distancing measures when in public.

·Non-essential travel can begin to resume.

·Employers should still close common areas or enforce social distancing and sanitation protocols.

·Organized sports activities can reopen and operate under proper social distancing and sanitation protocols.

·Bars can operate with diminished standing-room occupancy, where applicable and appropriate, and under social distancing and sanitation protocols.

·Funerals and weddings can resume under social distancing protocols.

·Children’s nursery areas in places of worship can reopen.

To read more about the three phases of Oklahoma’s OURS plan, click here.

Source: KFOR, Governor Stitt

Photo Credit: Governor Stitt's Facebook Page

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