OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After extending the city’s ‘shelter-in-place’ order through the end of the month, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt stressed the importance of staying at home.
So far, there have been 396 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths connected to the virus in the metro.
“People are getting sick, and people are dying,” Mayor Holt said.
Holt says that although the restrictions are a disruption to everyday life, they were necessary.
If no restrictions were put in place, health experts believe at least one percent of the population could die from the virus.
If only 1% of people died from the virus, that would equal around 14,000 people in the Oklahoma City metro area.
“Doing nothing was never really an option,” Holt said.
On Thursday, Holt extended the ‘shelter-in-place’ emergency order until April 30.
The order’s rules are as follows:
- Stay home.
- 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, both public and private. City-owned golf courses, fitness courts, dog parks, disc golf courses, skate parks, recreation centers and sport courts (basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.) are also closed.
- You can go to work in an essential job. You can also do business with someone working in an essential job.
- You can drive, bike, walk and take transit. You don’t need special ID or a permit. Police aren’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 do business with someone doing a non-essential job from home, but do it virtually or by phone. 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.
Although the order is currently through April 30, officials say it may be extended again.
“We don’t know how long this will last,” Holt said.
At this point, some other states have already started extending restrictions through June.
While the restrictions are in place, officials say they know that police aren’t able to enforce the rules everywhere.
Instead, city leaders say it is up to the community to follow them in order to protect those around us.
“Stop trying to find loopholes. What that tells me is that you do not value the lives of the people at your company, your business, your organization, or just the lives of those around you,” Holt said.
At this point, Holt says he is not considering a curfew for Oklahoma City.