Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt modified his emergency declaration announced Sunday now closing bars, gyms, theaters, and limiting restaurants to take-out only.
The modification represents further attempts to control the spread of COVID-19.
Six more cases
It has been less than 100 hours since the first case in Oklahoma City limits was identified.
While an emergency declaration gives him the authority to close even private businesses, Holt had resisted going that far until today.
But, the latest update from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that there are now six cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma County.
One locally-transmitted case in Cleveland County lives in the Oklahoma City limits and was the trigger case that caused the major to make the emergency declaration Sunday.
Most serious pandemic
“Public health officials tell me this is the most serious pandemic our community has faced in the last half-century,” said Mayor Holt in a prepared statement. “The loss of life in Oklahoma City would be profound if we did nothing.”
Throughout the morning in the core metro this reporter has seen significant numbers of cars parked around a number of eating establishments.
“Even considering conservative estimates of mortality rates and contagion, the loss of life in Oklahoma City would be profound if we did nothing,” Holt said in a quickly-called news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Holt said that other American cities had taken the same action including Tulsa this afternoon.
Under the terms of the state of emergency:
- All bars and similar venues without on-premises food (hookah barks, cigar bars, and vaping lounges) must close from 5 p.m. today (March 17) through April 12.
- All bars and similar venues with on-premises food, breweries, restaurants and coffee shops may serve only take-out or delivery food, or pre-packaged alcohol authorized for sale under state law, from 12:01 a.m. March 18 through April 12. They must otherwise remain closed to everyone but employees.
- All athletic gyms, exercise facilities, movie theaters, and shopping mall food courts must close from 12:01 a.m. March 18 through April 12.
- The Remington Park gaming area must close from 12:01 a.m. March 18 through April 12.
- Staff may still perform maintenance duties at these facilities.
The terms of the original emergency proclamation are also still in place. The City has revoked all special event permits through April 12, banned gatherings of more than 50 people at most City facilities, and is requiring a distance of at least 3 feet between transit users.
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