'State Of Emergency' Declared in OKC Due To Possible COVID-19 Spread

Mayor David Holt announced he expects to sign a proclamation of a state of emergency in the City of Oklahoma City on Monday due to the discovery of possible COVID-19 community spread in the metro area.

Mayor Holt made the announcement Sunday at a news conference at the OKC-County Health Department (OCCHD). The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) on Sunday confirmed three new positive tests for COVID-19 statewide. At least one appears to be unrelated to travel, indicating possible community spread. It would be the first instance of community spread in the Oklahoma City metro.

“Limiting close personal contact is our only real tool of mitigation, and on the advice of public health officials, and with the confirmation of local spread, we feel it is now time to do more,” said Mayor Holt. “I do not proclaim this state of emergency casually, and I am fully aware of the gravity of the moment. But this is a time to protect the people of Oklahoma City.”

Local public health officials underscored the necessity of the proclamation.

“This will be an important step to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact of this pandemic on our community,” said Dr. Gary Raskob, chairman of the OCCHD Board of Health.

Effective immediately upon signing the declaration:

> The City is revoking all previously approved special event permits for events March 16 to April 12.

> All events with 50 or more participants at City-operated facilities; City-owned facilities operated by a private contractor as listed below; and Lake Hefner, Lake Stanley Draper and Lake Overholser; are suspended.

- Chesapeake Energy Arena

-Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark

-USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium Complex

-Civic Center Music Hall

-Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department (including recreation and senior centers)

-South Lakes Soccer Complex

-North OKC Soccer Complex

-MAPS 3 Senior Health and Wellness Centers

-Riversport OKC

-Cox Convention Center

-Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical GardenandThe Official Zoo Amphitheatre

-Scissortail Park

-Myriad Botanical Gardens

> The City will stop cutting off water service for customers unable to pay their bills.

> All users of public transportation must maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from other users.

- This includes all Embark services, the OKC Streetcar and Oklahoma River Cruises. EMBARK and all these partners are taking extensive COVID-19 precautions.

Read more here: https://embarkok.com/connect/blog/2020/03/staying-healthy/

The emergency proclamation is declared under Chapter 15 Article III of City Code. It will remain in effect until the Mayor signs a proclamation to end it. The Mayor may modify to the terms of the emergency declaration for as long as it remains in effect.

The declaration is based on updated guidance on mass gatherings issued Sunday by the CDC.

Read that guidance here:https://www.cdc.gov/…/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.ht…

The announcement Sunday of the intention to sign the proclamation Monday fulfills a requirement in City Code for advance notice.

Visit okc.gov/prepare for the latest local news, updates and guidance on COVID-19.

A violation of the proclamation’s terms would be a class “b” misdemeanor under City Code, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

https://www.okc.gov/Home/Components/News/News/3287/5296

Photo: Getty Images

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