'Shelter In Place' Order Issued For Oklahoma City

Mayor David Holt will amend the COVID-19 state of emergency proclamation in Oklahoma City to explicitly implement “Shelter in Place” from 11:59 p.m. March 28 through April 16.

This action has been recommended by the Mayor’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group, and was coordinated with the City of Tulsa Gov 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. The amended proclamation also incorporates Governor Kevin Stitt’s previous closures, providing for local enforcement of those measures.

“Our legal teams in Tulsa and Oklahoman City have been reviewing Gov. Stitt’s March 24 executive orders, and believe they are functionally the same as ‘Shelter in Place’ orders in other American cities,” said Mayor Holt. “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 GT 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.

“As I have said this week, in a free society, the reality is that only you can truly keep yourself sheltered in place and safe from COVID-19,” Mayor Holt continued. “The public health experts and I are asking you to be our partners in this effort. Let us look to the experiences of other cities and let us remember that we are literally saving lives. Let’s stay home and be well.”

> What does “Shelter in Place” mean?

The “Shelter in Place” emergency order is effective from 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 28 through April 16.

In general, it’s simple:

- Stay home. Exceptions are below on this list.

- 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. The Oklahoma City Police Department isn’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.

A violation of the City proclamation’s terms would be a class “b” misdemeanor under City Code, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

Visitcovid19.okc.gov for the latest local news, updates and guidance on COVID-19.

> How the order works

The City’s emergency proclamation is authorized under Chapter 15 Article III of City Code and Title 21, Section 1321.9 of Oklahoma Statutes. It was first issued March 16, and was previously modified March 17 and March 25. It will remain in effect until the Mayor signs a proclamation to end it. The Mayor may modify the terms of the emergency for as long as it remains in effect.

The terms of the state and local emergency restrictions are based on fast-evolving guidance from the CDC, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD).

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, group chairman and OCCHD director

- Hieremila Haile, OCCHD epidemiologist

- Dr. Leslie Hudson, epidemiologist and former University of Oklahoma public health faculty member

- Timothy Pehrson, president and CEO of INTEGRIS Health

- Dr. Gary Raskob, chairman of the OCCHD Board of Health and dean of OU’s Hudson College of Public Health