OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt have both declared states of emergency in response to COVID-19.
Stitt’s declaration will unlock resources and additional support as the state works to respond to the virus.
This includes giving small businesses access to federal loans and allowing state agencies to hire additional staff, along with making necessary purchases.
Mayor Holt says there has been a case of local transmission, which is what led him to make the declaration.
“Local public health officials have consistently maintained that this was the threshold that should trigger even more proactive measures to protect public health,” Holt said.
The decision will significantly impact public gatherings.
“One hundred hours ago we all thought it was okay for 18,000 people to enter the Chesapeake Arena. As of today, with the finding of local spread, the message is different, and the urgency is greater,” Holt said.
The state of emergency cancels all special event permits in the city until April 12. It also cancels all events in city-operated facilities with 50 or more people.
The city will also stop cutting off water for people who can’t pay their bills.
Anyone on public transportation should stay at least three feet away from other passengers.
Experts say you should practice social distancing for places you go everyday.
“Whether you are at work, school, or the grocery store, maintain distance between yourself and others,” Dr. Patrick McGough, executive director of the OKC-County Health Department, said.
Holt is also asking people to consider not dining in restaurants.
Despite the state of emergency, officials say there is no need to panic.
“The mayor’s emergency declaration does not mean you need to be afraid. We still encourage all healthy residents to go out and do the things most necessary to keep your life as normal as possible during this critical time, such as buying groceries and taking care of other daily needs,” McGough said.