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Mayor G.T. Bynum temporarily bans events that would bring 250

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Published 03/14/2020 | Reading Time 2 min 59 sec 

Mayor Cancelling City Led and Permitted Gatherings of 250 People or More

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 before it occurs within the Tulsa community, Mayor Bynum is directing the postponement or cancellation of all gatherings of 250 people or more at City of Tulsa properties and facilities, as well as Special Events permitted by the City beginning at 5 p.m. today. The ban will be in place until April 15, when it will be reevaluated.

Mayor Bynum recommends that organizers of events that draw more than 250 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.

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Statement from Mayor G.T. Bynum:

Following consultation with the Director of the Tulsa Health Department, I am today issuing a directive prohibiting events of 250 people or more in City facilities and revoking special event permits issued for events of 250 or more. This ban will go into effect at 5:00 PM today and will be in place until April 15, when it will be re-evaluated. 

This decision was not made lightly, and is largely driven by two factors:

  1. While we do not have any evidence of community spread in Tulsa, I am mindful that so little is known about how COVID-19 is spread – in particular: if it can be spread by those not yet showing symptoms.
  2. Because COVID-19 is a new virus, tests are not available at every drug store and doctor’s office for anyone who wants to make sure they are in the clear. This inherently reduces our ability to effectively track community spread.

While standard guidelines indicate that we could wait until evidence of community spread before restricting event size, we see cities across America being proactive and getting ahead of that guidance. When it comes to public safety, I want Tulsa to be abundantly cautious and proactive too.

The threshold of 250 people is a recommendation given by the Centers for Disease Control to other communities when trying to determine the proper restriction. We will continue to monitor and adapt as this event evolves. 

Limiting event sizes will not entirely prevent contagion in Tulsa – but it can slow it, allowing our health care system to better assist those who need help. Prevention starts with each of us: washing our hands and staying away from others when sick. 

For clarification, this direction does not include school or county led events as they do not fall under the purview of the City of Tulsa. City locations that are included are: BOK Center, City Hall and City facilities, City Parks and Recreation Centers, Convention Center, Gilcrease Museum, Performing Arts Center, Stormwater Detention areas, River Parks and the Tulsa Zoo. Special events that were permitted by the City, which close streets and right of ways are also included. (listed updated to include River Parks.)

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Basic Health Tips
Some longstanding basic health tips can go a long way in helping prevent COVID-19 transmission. Note that face masks and gloves are to be saved for health care professionals and are not for use by the general public.

  • Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds. Though handwashing is best, you can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% alcohol or greater).
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with bleach-based or alcohol-based cleaning products.
  • In meeting settings, avoid shaking hands, do not meet in large groups, and keep a 6 ft. radius between you and the person you are talking to.

Self-care treatment

  • Stay home if you have a fever of 100° F [37° C] or greater and have signs of a respiratory illness.
  • Those with mild cases of respiratory illnesses should remain at home and practice self-care.
  • It’s recommended you treat fevers, muscle aches and cough with over the counter medications.
  • You can schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional if respiratory symptoms worsen and you have impaired breathing.
  • If you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread and you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call the Tulsa Health Department 918-582-WELL (9355) or your health care provider for recommendations.

For more information, visit: www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19

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