OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As Governor Kevin Stitt announced plans to reopen non-essential businesses across the state in a matter of days, leaders in several municipalities across Oklahoma expressed concerns with moving forward with a reopening plan too quickly.
On Wednesday, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced a three percent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, totaling 2,894 patients. At the same time, deaths connected to COVID-19 have reached 170 in the Sooner State.
Although the number of cases are still rising, hospitalizations have remained low and are actually declining in many areas of the state.
Gov. Stitt announced his plan to reopen the state and non-essential businesses in three phases, with the first phase beginning on April 24.
Under the guidelines of the first phase of the plan, personal care businesses like hair salons and spas could open while following strict sanitation and social distancing rules.
Restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting venues could open to the public on May 1.
Following the announcement, several city leaders said that their proclamations would stand and require businesses to stay closed while others opted to change their proclamations to fit with the state’s plan.
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt was one of the first city leaders in the state to enact shelter-in-place orders, which closed some non-essential businesses and ordered Oklahoma City residents to stay at home as much as possible until April 30.
Despite the governor’s plan to reopen in two days, Holt told KFOR that his order will still be in effect.
“Mayor Bynum and I, as well as the Oklahoma Municipal League, have been in constant communication with the Governor this last week as he has developed a statewide vision for a new phase in pandemic response. We are very appreciative for that line of communication with the Governor.
As was announced three weeks ago, and in the interest of public health, our city’s shelter in place proclamation lasts through April 30th, as does the closure of personal care services.
On the advice of our local public health experts, it is our intent to follow the spirit of the White House criteria for potentially entering a new phase after April 30th. We dearly hope that public health data allows Oklahoma City to consider entering that new phase on May 1st as the Governor has envisioned. We will continue to monitor public health data and will provide updates on our local plans as we have them.”Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt
Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum agrees, saying his safer at home order also will remain in effect through April 30.
“I appreciate Governor Stitt announcing his plan for Oklahoma today. I am working with both the Tulsa Health Department and the State Department of Health to assess the latest trend data that would indicate when we can safely begin such a process in Tulsa.
I plan to discuss these matters with the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Committee and my colleagues in other Tulsa County municipalities on Thursday, and will share my thoughts on the path forward in a press briefing on Friday. The Tulsa Safer At Home order remains in effect within our city limits through April 30.”Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum
Norman Mayor Breea Clark says her stay-at-home order will also remain in place through April 30.
Why pick fights with the mayors, @GovStitt? Like OKC and Tulsa, Norman’s Stay at Home Order will remain in place through 4/30. You may be willing to risk lives by moving forward without proper testing or a plan for contact tracing, but I’m not.Norman Mayor Breea Clark said on Twitter
El Reno Mayor Matt White says he supports Stitt’s action to get citizens back to work, but says he believes they have to do it cautiously for different cities.
However, he says he is choosing to stay with the original proclamation and will not allow personal care businesses to open on Friday.
“I do not feel that we need to do that at this time,” Mayor White said in a Facebook message. “I think we need to keep those closed until the original order that we signed, that we discussed with Gov. Stitt, which goes to April 30th, which is basically seven days from now.”
White says that restaurants and other businesses will open on May 1 in accordance with the plans.
However, some city leaders say they are prepared to follow the new phasing system.
Del City officials say they are changing their emergency proclamation in order to align with the governor’s orders and allow for personal service businesses to reopen on April 24.
City leaders in Mustang tell KFOR that they will move forward with the governor’s plan.
“The City of Mustang will follow the guidelines set by the Governor and his advisory group. Since the onset of COVID-19 we have followed his lead. We feel comfortable with their decisions and will continue to monitor the effect,” said Mustang Mayor Jess Schweinberg.
Officials in Midwest City modified their ordinance on Thursday in order to allow personal service businesses like hair salons, barber shops, spas, and nail salons to open to the public.
“Governor Stitt has expressed his intention to reopen Oklahoma businesses safely, responsibly and based on the data in our state. We have monitored the data for the state and for our city daily and will continue to do so,” said City Manager Tim Lyon. “The health and safety of our residents continues to be our first priority.”
Yukon Mayor Michael McEachern announced that he was amending his city’s emergency proclamation in order to align with Stitt’s order.
He says personal care businesses may open on Friday and a plan is in place for the May 1 opening of other non-essential businesses.
City officials in Lawton say they are planning to hold an emergency city council meeting on Thursday to discuss what actions they are going to take.
Edmond city leaders say the Declaration of Emergency will remain in effect through April 30. The council will discuss the city’s reopening plan at their council meeting on Monday.
The Edmond City Council on Thursday, April 23, affirmed its standing Declaration of Emergency related to the community spread of COVID-19, affirming that the declaration will continue as previously adopted through April 30.
Beginning Friday, May 1, businesses will be allowed to reopen under the Three-Phase Open Up & Recover Safely (OURS) Plan that was announced last week by Governor Kevin Stitt.
Moore city officials announced that on Saturday, April 25, the City of Moore will be under Stitt’s three-phase approach to reopening the state’s economy.
Weatherford city officials say they plan to move forward with the governor’s plan for phase one on May 1.
Officials with Ponca City tell KFOR that they will follow the state’s guidance and allow for some businesses to open on April 24.
The mayor of Shawnee amended the declaration of emergency to comply with the governor’s guidelines. Beginning April 24, personal care businesses can begin to reopen by appointment only. Also, the Shawnee Twin Lakes will reopen for fishing and recreation.
On Monday, the Guthrie City Council met to approve an ordinance that changed the city’s emergency proclamation. After a vote, city leaders say Guthrie personal care businesses like barber shops can open immediate. Guthrie now falls in line with Gov. Stitt’s order to allow small businesses and restaurants to open to the public on May 1.
Cleveland County Commissioners voted to relax restrictions to public access to the courthouse, office buildings and the county fairgrounds beginning Monday, May 4. The Cleveland County Fairgrounds will will remain closed to public events until June 1, 2020 with the exception of the Norman Farm Market.
KFOR is still waiting on a response from several other city officials across the metro.