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New restrictions in place for Carter County

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
This infographic provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health provides some examples of essential versus non essential businesses. Carter County is now required to follow an executive order from Gov. Stitt requiring all non-essential businesses to close through April 15.

Now that COVID-19 has been confirmed in Carter County, businesses within the county must abide by an amended executive order from Gov. Kevin Stitt that will close all nonessential businesses. These closures fall into two categories: businesses not identified as being within the critical infrastructure sector and restaurants which can only be open for take-out and delivery options.

Some examples of critical infrastructure include grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, healthcare providers, government offices and medical marijuana dispensaries. Examples of non-essential businesses include gyms, bars, salons and retail merchants. At this time, all businesses that fall into the non-essential category must remain closed through April 15.

More information about which businesses fall into the essential category can be found online from the Department of Homeland Security, and Gov. Stitt issued an executive memorandum Tuesday with guidelines pertaining specifically to Oklahoma. Any business that is not already considered essential can apply online to remain open at criticalworker.ok.gov.

Currently, restaurants are not allowed any onsite dining, but can remain open for takeout and delivery. In order to help these businesses remain open the ABLE Commission has relaxed their rules on the sale of alcohol. Retail spirit licensees, licensed small breweries and small farm wineries and restaurants, bars and clubs with mixed beverage licenses and cater/mixed beverage licensees can now deliver alcohol to customers. This includes beer, wine and mixed drinks. These deliveries must be made by employees of the licensed establishment and must be paid for upon delivery. Online payments prior to delivery are still restricted.

Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn said the City of Ardmore is taking the new restrictions seriously and dispelled rumors floating around social media that the city would be going into quarantine.

“We’ve had several calls asking us if the city is going into lockdown at midnight tonight,” Spohn said Wednesday afternoon. “I want to tell everyone that we are not going to be locking down. We are just abiding by the guidelines put in place by the governor and don’t want people out socializing and taking unnecessary risks. You can certainly still go to the grocery store, go to your doctor’s appointments, and do what you need to do.”

Other than the rules put in place by the governor’s executive order, the only new policy the city is enacting pertains to city employees. Beginning Monday, staff will be coming into the office on alternating days and will work in the office one day and from home the next. However, there will be staff from each department on site every day. Spohn said this will not apply to police and firefighters.

“We just ask everyone to please follow the guidelines put in place by the state and health officials,” Spohn said. “We want to make sure our citizens and employees stay safe and limit the spread of this virus as much as possible.”