Cushing to reopen with state

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Last week, Governor Kevin Stitt announced his plan to re-open the Oklahoma economy with three-phase approach that began on Friday, April 24, and will stretch until at least June 1.

Shortly after Stitt’s announcement, Cushing City Manager Terry Brannon announced the city’s intentions to follow suit, reopening in accordance with state guidelines.

The City of Stillwater initially took a different tack.

“Regardless of what Governor Kevin Stitt said at his April 22 press conference, Stillwater will follow its existing emergency proclamation, which includes the shelter-in-place order that ends April 30,” said Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle. “There are ongoing discussions with local officials about reopening businesses and services. The Stillwater City Council will discuss the issue at its next meeting on April 27.”

Both Brannon and McNickle said that they did not receive advance notification of the Governor’s intentions. The following day, McNickle announced Stillwater would reopen along with the rest of the state.

Under phase one, Stitt paved the way for hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and pet groomers to reopen for appointments only on Friday, April 24. The guidelines state that these businesses must adhere to sanitation protocols and follow guidelines posted on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce website regarding social distancing between customers and visitors. Stitt also said that state parks and outdoor recreation facilities should be reopened and he recommended that grocery stores continue to maintain specific hours for vulnerable populations to shop.

On Friday, May 1, Stitt said that dining, entertainment, movie theaters and sporting venues can begin to operate using CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Gyms can also reopen but must adhere to CDC protocols.

Churches will be allowed to open for in-person meetings or worship, so long as they leave every other row or pew open and adhere to CDC protocols as well as recommended guidelines from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Tattoo Parlors can reopen for appointments only and must adhere to protocol.

Bars should remain closed.

Provided that hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level for 14 days, phase two of the plan will be implemented on Friday, May 15, which allows for organized sports to resume with certain limitations.

Also on April 24, surgical procedures for non-life-threatening conditions resumed for patients who would gave been at a higher risk of death if the procedure were not provided.

All minor medical procedures, including outpatient surgeries, and non-emergency dental procedures can resume starting April 30.

The State Department of Health recommends that patients be tested and receive a negative test result no later than 48 hours prior to the scheduled surgery. Providers are advised not to perform surgery on a patient who has had COVID-19 until the person twice tests negative for the virus.

The Governor aid that once hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level for 14 more days, phase three will be implemented which will include unrestricted staffing of worksites and the reopening of church and school-related summer camps.

Stitt said that more detailed plans for phase three will be made as the state enters phase two.

Stitt said that even after June 1, visits to senior care facilities should still be prohibited.

In Wednesday’s statement, Brannon said, “Following the press conference this afternoon, I contacted the board of commissioners, sharing the plan presented by Governor Stitt, and asking each to provide their perspective of our joining the governor in re-opening the Oklahoma economy, or imposing tighter restrictions until at least April 30,” said Brannon. “It was the consensus of the commission to follow the plan set forth by Governor Stitt.”

Brannon said that iIn re-opening the Cushing economy, businesses will be expected to follow the expectations in the plan presented by Governor Stitt, and that citizens are strongly encouraged to continue to follow CDC guidelines.

The full text of Stitt’s plan can be found at www.okcommerce.gov.