MOORE — Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis declared a state of emergency Monday as the city prepares for COVID-19.
Lewis' proclamation cites the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma and that health professionals and researchers have determined that COVID-19 spreads through human contact and interaction as reasons for the state of emergency.
The state of emergency became effective at 6:35 p.m. Monday and will remain in effect until 7 p.m. on April 6. The state of emergency can be extended or terminated earlier, according to City Manager Brooks Mitchell.
There are nearly 5,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States and 100 deaths attributed to the virus as of Tuesday, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. There are 17 confirmed cases in Oklahoma and one confirmed case in Cleveland County, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
In addition to the statistics and recommendations, Lewis also cited the recent proclamations from President Donald Trump and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt as contributing factors in declaring a state of emergency in Moore.
“We have to control the virus,” Lewis said. “I know the disease is highly contagious and we have to take action to protect our citizens. If this just helps one person, then it's worth it.”
According to the proclamation, the Moore Public Library, Brand Senior Center, Parks and Recreation Department and Moore Sports Associations will be closed during the state of emergency. All programming or events scheduled at these locations will be postponed or cancelled until the expiration of the state of emergency.
“City of Moore parks and other facilities will remain open for individual access, however all public and private gatherings, meetings and gatherings attended by at least 50 people are hereby postponed and/or cancelled,” the proclamation states. “Meetings of all City of Moore authorities, boards, commissions, committees and trusts are (also) hereby postponed and/or cancelled until the expiration of this emergency declaration.”
The proclamation also states that all Moore Municipal Court dockets may only be attended by city staff, the defendants and their attorney. City council meetings are exempt from this cancellation, and will continue to be open to the public, but steps will be taken to ensure no close contact with attendees. Meetings will also continue to be televised.
“This is all in preparation if conditions get much worse,” Mitchell said. “We don't know if it will get much worse, but we want to do what's best for our citizens and to follow (Center for Disease Control) guidelines."
However, city officials are adhering to guidelines set by the CDC. City officials are also encouraging restaurants, bars and other privately owned gathering places to limit the number of patrons and to have “at least six feet of space available to each patron." Restaurants are further encouraged to transition to take-out or delivery options. Local gyms and exercise facilities are encouraged to discontinue all group activities.
All in-person gatherings, such as social, spiritual and recreational events, are strongly discouraged until the expiration of the state of emergency. However, they are not banned by the proclamation.
Lewis and Mitchell said they want residents to be safe and follow the guidelines from health professionals.
“We felt like it was important to put things in place but to be measured in our response,” Mitchell said. “Until the evidence is there or trending in a certain direction, we want people to live their lives but to do it safely.
“The people of Moore are tough. We're resilient. This is just one more thing to go through. We've responded to tragedies in the past, and we will get through this one."
For more information on the state of emergency, visit www.cityofmoore.com or call Moore City Hall at 405-793-5000.
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