Published 03/28/2020 | Reading Time 3 min 21 sec
By BWSTimes Staff
TULSA, Okla. — Mayor G.T. Bynum signed a safer at home order for the City of Tulsa, effective at 11:59 PM tonight. The order runs through April 15; after that date, the Mayor will evaluate if said executive order needs to be extended.
“I want to be clear that this is not a recommendation; this is an order to protect the lives of Tulsans. It will be enforced by the Tulsa Police Department. Officers have discretion to issue citations and, if absolutely necessary, take people to jail for violation of this order,” the Mayor said, adding, “all public and private events or social gatherings are not allowed.”Tulsa and Oklahoma City mayors announced Safer at Home orders, both becoming the 44th and 45th American cities to implement stricter regulations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Bynum said that essential business, as defined by the state of Oklahoma, should continue to operate, but are also required to incorporate social distancing practices wherever feasible.
Under the mandatory order, Tulsans will still be permitted to travel to their local grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, doctor appointments and the hospital. Restaurants with a curbside pickup may continue operating. Moreover, Tulsans with family members needing support are allowed to assistant.
Additional outdoor activities permitted include walking pets and exercising (such as jogging, biking, and hiking, etc.), as long as citizens practice social distancing while outside of their homes.
During the press conference, the Bynum stated, “In discussions over the last several days with my colleague in Oklahoma City, Mayor David Holt, we determined that the combination of orders was getting us closer to shelter-in-place, but that it was confusing for local law enforcement to carry out. And that there was still more that needed to be done to keep our citizens safe. Unlike the safer at home order issued earlier this week by the governor, for which I am very grateful, this safer at home order applies to everyone in Tulsa, not just those over 65-years of age.”
Bynum noted that a recent study indicates that two-thirds of those who test positive the coronavirus are under 65-years of age.
“All of us must do what we can to slow the spread of this virus so our healthcare system can properly care for those who need it,” Bynum said.
Before exiting the podium, the mayor cautioned Tulsans that the city should begin seeing the apex of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations between mid-April and mid-May, and also mentioned that Tulsa’s hospitals are currently unprepared to handle a massive surge of patients, which is why he says he issued the order. He also highlighted how the United States Army Corps of Engineers is currently scouting for local sites to set up a medical facility to serve the inevitable surge of patients.