Fact vs. fiction: Ardmore police dispel COVID-19 rumors circulating across southern Oklahoma

Sierra Rains
Ardmore police patrol downtown Ardmore. Authorities believe rumors about required paperwork to leave home may have originated online but say the rumors are false.

Rumors about essential paperwork to allow travel outside the home have been spreading fast across southern Oklahoma. However, authorities want the public to know these statements are false.

Ardmore Police Department Cpt. Claude Henry said the City of Ardmore is not issuing permits for individuals to be outside of their homes and the police department will not be pulling people over to ask for permits.

“We just want to dispel the rumor that essential paperwork is needed to commute during the stay in place resolution,” Henry said. “The Ardmore Police Department is not going to be stopping citizens and requesting any type of essential paperwork and we’re not issuing citations for leaving your residence.”

While the department will not be actively looking for people who are leaving their residence, the department is still strongly encouraging citizens to comply with the stay in place resolution, Henry said.

The resolution, issued by the City of Ardmore on the evening of April 6, orders non-essential businesses to close and citizens to shelter at their place of residence, among other things.

Citizens may, however, leave their homes for essential activities. Some examples provided in the resolution include, errands to maintain the health and safety of family, household members, or pets, getting necessary services or supplies, engaging in outdoor activities, caring for or transporting a family member or pet in another household, donating blood, and moving to a new residence.

The resolution provides for these terms to continue indefinitely until voted on and terminated by the Ardmore City Commission.

Other police departments around Carter County including the Wilson Police Department and Healdton Police Department have reported rumors going around regarding citizens being under a curfew. However, there is no curfew in effect other than the normal curfew that applies to minors under the age of 18.

Additionally, the Davis Police Department has received concerns from citizens regarding needing essential paperwork. However, there is currently no paperwork required to travel outside of your home.

“A lot of it’s coming from social media, obviously it started probably by word of mouth— there’s a lot of it going on from just people hearing it, but social media is the biggest contributor to the rumor,” Henry said.

As with all law enforcement agencies, the Ardmore Police Department is still patrolling and responding to crimes as normal, Henry said. However, officers are taking a few extra precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or contamination from the virus.

“We have issued our officers personal protection equipment for whenever they are dealing with somebody who is showing the symptoms of COVID-19,” Henry said, adding that officers have been educated on tactics for maintaining the proper distance when interacting with the public.

“But other than that our patrol tactics haven’t changed. Our man power is still the same and we’re still doing our jobs.”

The most accurate and updated information on city regulations and recommendations regarding COVID-19 can be found on the City of Ardmore’s website at www.ardmorecity.org. The full stay in place resolution can also be read on the city’s website.

Additionally, individuals can check the Ardmore Police Department Facebook page or the City of Ardmore’s Facebook page for updated information.

For the most up-to-date information on your city’s COVID-19 regulations, contact your local city government or visit your city’s web page.