Stitt Announces Plan To Reopen State's Economy

  • Gov. Kevin Stitt - Official Photo
    Gov. Kevin Stitt - Official Photo
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Gov. Kevin Stitt on Wednesday, April 22, released his three-phase plan to reopen Oklahoma's economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first phase of the Open Up And Recover Safely (OURS) plan goes into effect Friday, April 24, 2020, and includes the reopening of personal care businesses such as hair and nail salons, barber shops, spas, and pet groomers by appointment only. In reopening, personal care businesses are directed to adhere to strict sanitation protocols and also follow social distancing guidelines for both employees and customers.

The plan also calls for state parks and outdoor recreation facilities to reopen on April 24, but leaves in place the order closing school buildings and organized sporting events and camps until further notice. Visits to hospitals and senior living facilities are prohibited. Grocery stores are encouraged to maintain dedicated hours for vulnerable populations.

The second part of Phase One is scheduled to take effect May 1, 2020. On that date, dining establishments, entertainment venues, movie theaters, and sporting venues will be allowed to resume operations if they follow social distancing guidelines as recommended by the United States Centers For Disease Control (CDC).

Gyms and tattoo parlors will also be allowed to reopen May 1, if they adhere to CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation guidelines. Tattoo parlors, like other personal care businesses, will be restricted to business by appointment only. Bars are to remain closed. Also on May 1, places of worship are allowed to resume meetings and services, but must leave every other pew or row open and adhere to the CDC-recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Assuming Phase One guidelines are met and hospital and incident rates remain at a "manageable level," for 14 days, Phase Two will begin. The target date for Phase Two is May 15, 2020.

In Phase Two, organized sports activities will be allowed to resume, under proper social distancing and sanitation protocols. Bars will be allowed to reopen with diminished standing-room occupancy "where applicable and appropriate," and under the CDC guidelines. Funerals and weddings, again, under CDC-recommended social distancing and protocols, will also be allowed to resume. Churches and places of worship will be allowed to reopen children's nursery areas.

During Phase Two, visitation to hospitals and senior living facilities are to remain prohibited.

Phase Three is scheduled to begin June 1, assuming hospital and incident rates remain at a manageable level for 14 days after the beginning of Phase Two. Full details of Phase Three have not yet been released, but "will be provided once the state enters Phase Two," according to the released plan document. The plan does, however, specify that church and school summer camps will be allowed to reopen and that visitation at hospitals and senior living facilities should remain prohibited.

Despite having scheduled the plan to take effect April 24, Stitt's plan also calls for the state to be able to quickly set up safe and efficient testing for symptomatic individuals before entering Phase One.The plan also indicates employers should take on several additional responsibilities, including developing policies for temperature checks, monitoring employees for indicative symptoms, and developing and implementing policies for contact tracing following employee testing. Individuals are encouraged to continue to adhere to state and local guidance on social distancing and other preventative measures such as hand-washing, sanitizing, and use of masks.