DETAILS: What can reopen under state’s ‘Open Up and Recover Safely’ plan

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma will officially begin reopening this week in phases amid the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with personal care businesses like nail salons, barber shops and hair salons.

On Wednesday, Governor Kevin Stitt introduced the “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 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, Stitt says, Oklahoma has met all necessary criteria to begin proceeding to a phased opening. He adds this includes a downward trajectory of documented cases and the ability to treat all patients without crisis care.

The OURS plan is a three-phased approach to open the state’s economy back up starting April 24.

According to Stitt’s office, the 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)

Before proceeding to a new phase, the Secretary of Health and Mental Health will
confirm:

  • Oklahoma COVID-19 hospitalizations and incidents are at a manageable level
  • Hospitals are treating all patients without alternate care sites
  • There is sufficient testing material in the state and ability to conduct contact tracing
  • The state can quickly and independently supply sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and critical medical equipment, including ICU equipment, to handle a surge

Further, the State of Oklahoma must address the following core responsibilities before
proceeding to Phase 1:

  • Ensure the ability to quickly set up safe and efficient testing for symptomatic individuals
  • Provide guidance intended to protect the health and safety of workers in critical industries
    • Employers should consider:
      • Developing policies for temperature checks, sanitation, use and disinfection of common areas and business travel
      • Monitoring workforce for indicative symptoms; not allowing symptomatic people to physically return to work and consider implementing flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices.
    • Developing and implementing policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID-19 testing and implementing appropriate policies regarding social distancing and PPE
  • Advise citizens regarding protocols for social distancing and face coverings
    • Individuals should:
      • Continue to adhere to state and local guidance as well as complementary CDC guidance regarding social distancing
      • Wash hands with soap and water
      • Avoid touching the face
      • Disinfect frequently-used items and surfaces as much as possible
      • Consider using face coverings while in public and when using mass transit
      • Stay home and contact their doctor if they are feeling sick
      • Monitor conditions to limit and mitigate any rebounds or outbreak

Phase 1

Individual guidance:

  • Continue following safer-at-home guidelines if they are over 65 or part of a vulnerable population
  • Maximize social distance from others when in public (e.g., parks, outdoor recreation areas, shopping areas)
  • Avoid socializing in groups or facilities that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines and Executive Orders regarding isolation following travel

Employer guidance:

  • Create plans to allow employees to return to work in phases
  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing protocols
  • Minimize non-essential travel and adhere to CDC guidelines and Executive Orders regarding isolation following travel
  • Honor requests of personnel who are members of a vulnerable population for special accommodations

Specific Employer guidance:

  • Schools and organized sporting events and camps that are currently closed should remain closed until further notice
  • Visits to Senior Living Facilities and Hospitals are prohibited

On April 24, the following businesses can reopen:

  • Personal care businesses, such as hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers can reopen for appointments only, must adhere to sanitation protocols, and follow guidelines posted on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website regarding social distancing between customers and visitors at personal care businesses.
  • State parks and outdoor recreation should be reopened
  • Grocery stores should continue to maintain hours for vulnerable populations

May 1, 2020, the following businesses can reopen:

  • Dining, entertainment, movie theatres and sporting venues can operate using CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols.
  • Gyms can reopen if they adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation
  • protocols.
  • 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.
  • Bars should remain closed.
  • Tattoo Parlors can reopen for appointments only and must adhere to sanitation protocol and social distancing protocols for distancing between customers and visitors.

If hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level for 14 days, the state moves to Phase 2.

Phase 2 – Goal of May 15 (subject to all Phase 1 guidelines being met)

Individual guidance:

  • Continue following safer-at-home guidelines if they are over 65 or part of a vulnerable population
  • Maintain social distancing from others when in public
  • Avoid socializing in groups that do not readily allow for appropriate social distancing
  • Consider resuming non-essential travel

Employer guidance:

  • Close common areas or enforce social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Honor requests of personnel who are members of a vulnerable population for special accommodations
  • Employers are recommended to implement social distancing protocols, which include proper sanitation and use of protective equipment when interacting with the public

Specific Employer guidance:

  • Organized sports activities can reopen and operate under proper social distancing and sanitation protocols
  • Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals should still be prohibited
  • 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

Phase 3 will be implemented if hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level for 14 days.

Phase 3 – Goal of June 1 (Subject to all guidelines being met)

Once hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level statewide for 14 more days Phase 3 will apply, which will allow for further public interaction.

Further details for Phase 3 will be provided once the state enters Phase 2, but the recommendations below are a starting point for planning purposes.

Employer guidance:

  • Can resume unrestricted staffing of worksites

Specific Employer guidance:

  • Summer camps (church and school) can open
  • Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals should still be prohibited

Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Stitt’s announcement on Wednesday of plans to reopen Oklahoma businesses:

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many of Oklahoma’s small businesses and their employees. We agree preparations must be made to safely reopen these businesses and put Oklahomans back to work but this must be done based on sound data and recommendations from public health experts.

“Oklahoma Senate Democrats have major concerns with Governor Stitt’s plan to begin phasing out some COVID-19 business restrictions. Acting prematurely, before we have adequate testing and contact tracing in place and before Oklahoma is in compliance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines on reopening, places public safety at risk. We must proceed carefully with a balanced approach.”

Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, issued the following statement after Stitt’s announcement:

“This afternoon, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the state’s plans to begin gradually and safely reopening Oklahoma now that the state’s COVID-19 curve has flattened. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, OCPA has said we must protect Oklahomans from the virus while ensuring that Oklahomans can continue to provide for their families. Governor Stitt’s plan embraces both priorities.

“As Oklahoma re-opens, it is important to continue safety measures to reduce viral spread. At the same time, the state should continue lifting oppressive regulations to empower Oklahomans while also mitigating risks.

“For tens of thousands of Oklahomans, their lives, health and livelihoods have already been negatively impacted by these shutdowns. By taking this first step to begin reopening Oklahoma, Governor Stitt has helped limit these negative impacts and ensured that Oklahoma has a brighter future.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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