COVID-19 (new coronavirus): There is a COVID-19 emergency proclamation in Oklahoma City. Visit for updates and details.

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'Shelter in Place' order to be issued in Oklahoma City as COVID-19 state of emergency amended

Post Date:03/28/2020 12:00 PM

Mayor David Holt will amend the COVID-19 state of emergency proclamation in Oklahoma City to explicitly implement “Shelter in Place” from 11:59 p.m. March 28 through April 16.

This action has been recommended by the Mayor’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group, and was coordinated with the City of Tulsa for simultaneous implementation. Oklahoma City and Tulsa now join 43 of the nation’s other 50 largest cities in explicitly issuing a “Shelter in Place” order. The amended proclamation also incorporates Gov. Kevin Stitt’s previous closures, providing for local enforcement of those measures.

“Our legal teams in Tulsa and Oklahoma City have been reviewing Governor Stitt’s March 24 executive orders, and believe they are functionally the same as ‘Shelter in Place’ orders in other American cities,” said Mayor Holt. “However, because that terminology was not used, there has been concern that the effectiveness of the executive orders in reducing COVID-19 transmission has been affected. In consultation with our public health advisors in both cities, Mayor G.T. Bynum and I feel it is best to remove any confusion and explicitly state what is already largely true. We want to leave no doubt with our residents that the safest course of action during this public health crisis is to stay home, unless you are engaged in an essential job, essential errand, or outdoor physical activity.

“As I have said this week, in a free society, the reality is that only you can truly keep yourself sheltered in place and safe from COVID-19,” Mayor Holt continued. “The public health experts and I are asking you to be our partners in this effort. Let us look to the experiences of other cities and let us remember that we are literally saving lives. Let’s stay home and be well.”

What does “Shelter in Place” mean?

The “Shelter in Place” emergency order is effective from 11:59 p.m. Saturday, March 28 through April 16.

In general, it’s simple:

  • Stay home. Exceptions are below on this list.
  • You can shop for groceries, 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 golf courses, fitness courts, dog parks, recreation center and 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
  • You can drive, bike, walk and take transit. 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.

A violation of the City proclamation’s terms would be a class “b” misdemeanor under City Code, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $750.

Visit for the latest local news, updates and guidance on COVID-19.

How the order works

The City’s emergency proclamation is authorized under Chapter 15 Article III of City Code and Title 21, Section 1321.9 of Oklahoma Statutes. It was first issued March 16, and was previously modified March 17 and March 25. It will remain in effect until the Mayor signs a proclamation to end it. The Mayor may modify the terms of the emergency for as long as it remains in effect.

The terms of the state and local emergency restrictions are based on fast-evolving guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD).

The Mayor’s COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group meets by teleconference every day to assess the pandemic locally. The advisory group’s members make recommendations for Mayor Holt’s consideration, if they become necessary.

The advisory group’s members are:

Local guidance

COVID-19 symptoms are fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath.

  • State officials report a critical shortage of testing.
  • If you're sick, do not go to the ER. Consult first with a health care provider. Regardless of whether tests show you have a common cold, the flu or COVID-19, doctors will tell most people to stay home, rest, get plenty of fluids and avoid contact with others.
  • If your symptoms worsen, you have difficulty breathing or you have a fever for more than 72 hours, call your doctor. If you don't have a primary care physician, call 2-1-1 to reach HeartLine Oklahoma.

These steps are crucial to "flatten the curve" and save your fellow Oklahomans' lives and livelihoods. They will slow the rate of infection, save crucial medical resources for the sickest and most vulnerable patients, and help us return as soon as possible to a normal way of life.

  • Practice physical distancing. Stay home. Work from home if you can. 
  • When you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others, including when picking up food and basic necessities. Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid crowded rooms, especially if you, a loved one or other people in the room are especially vulnerable.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • If you're sick, avoid close contact with other people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • When you must leave home, wash your hands as soon as you get back.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue. Then throw the tissue in the trash.

Information and resources for people

Information and resources for businesses and organizations

Click here for the latest emergency restrictions in OKC.

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Media Contact
Kristy Yager
(405) 297-2550

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