Beginning today at 11:59 p.m., the City of Stillwater has issued a Shelter in Place order, which requires residents to stay home and only leave for essential activities or business. Additionally, public access to the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.) will be restricted and park equipment will be closed.
The order amends previous emergency proclamations related to the COVID-19 virus, and remains in effect until through April 16 – but could be extended.
“The City is going all-in to fight the spread of this virus,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “This order enables us to enforce the notion that residents should be staying at home and stress the importance of a community effort to stop the spread of this virus.”
What does Shelter in Place mean?
• Stay home. Exceptions are listed below.
• You can shop for 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. City-owned playgrounds and other park equipment like sport courts (basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.) are closed.
• You can go to work in an essential job. You can also do business with someone working in an essential job. Those jobs are defined by the State of Oklahoma, using a federal list and one provided by the Governor. Find out more at okcommerce.gov/covid19. No special letter or permit is needed.
• You can drive, bike and walk. 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 work with someone doing a non-essential job from home. 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.
“We’d like to stress that while police will not be stopping residents for leaving their homes nor asking for permits or letters, the City is taking the situation very seriously in order to protect the community,” McNickle said. “Police are taking every step to use education and warning before issuing a fine; however the order allows up to a $500 fine for violation.”
Restricted access to City Hall
The Stillwater Municipal Building (City Hall) will be closed to the general public with a few exceptions. Those who must visit for a cash payment, permit, or to pay a fine will be buzzed in through the police department lobby. Residents who buzz in may be asked questions about illness symptoms or reason for business. The City strongly encourages residents to pay bills or fines online or by phone. For questions and more information, call 405.372.0025.
Advantages under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
President Trump’s recently passed act provides advantages to residents, employees and business owners. Some advantages include free testing, paid sick leave under certain conditions, unemployment aid, nutrition assistance and more. Learn about this act at https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201
The City regularly updates it’s Coronavirus Information Center at http://stillwater.org/page/breaking-news. Find answers to common questions, see the emergency proclamations, and find reliable information as it pertains to the Stillwater Community and COVID-19 here.