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Getting back to business

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com

Oklahoma is starting to reopen. Gov. Stitt announced the Open UP and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on Wednesday to begin gradually reopening businesses and public spaces. The OURS plan is divided into three phases, and restrictions are to be gradually reduced with each phase. As long as hospital intakes and COVID-19 incident rates remain manageable for 14 days between phases, the plan will move on to the next phase.

The City of Ardmore will be following the OURS plan, and on Thursday Mayor John Moore released a statement on the city’s website and Facebook page outlining each of the phases. The following is a brief summary, the full plan can be found at www.ardmorecity.org and at www.okcommerce.gov.

Phase One

During Phase One the public is to continue maximizing social distance, avoid socializing in facilities that do not allow for appropriate social distancing and minimize non-essential travel. Citizens over 65 and those in vulnerable populations should continue following safer-at-home guidelines.

Starting Friday, April 24, personal care business such as hair and nail salons, barbershops and dog groomers can reopen for appointments only. State parks and outdoor recreation spaces are also being reopened.

On May 1, dining, entertainment, sporting venues and gyms can reopen if they adhere to CDC recommended social distancing and sanitation protocols. Churches can also reopen for in-person worship as long as they leave every other row or pew open and adhere to social distancing and sanitation protocols.

On Monday, May 4, Ardmore City Hall will reopen to foot traffic.

Phase Two

The goal date for Phase Two is May 15. On this date bars and businesses considered nonessential can reopen with proper social distancing and sanitation protocols. Funerals and weddings can also resume with social distancing protocols.

Phase Three

The goal date for Phase Three is June 1. On this date employers can resume unrestricted staffing of work sites and summer camps will be able to reopen.

Mayor Moore pointed out all of these dates are only goals. They will only be implemented if hospitalizations and diagnoses for the coronavirus remain low. However he is hopeful the plan will stay on course.

“I’m happy that we’ve got a plan in place, and I think most people are happy with it,” Moore said. “We just need to keep up our social distancing and continue praying that we do not have too many more cases.”

Moore said he is thankful there has only been two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, and he asked for prayers to keep the number down.

“We’ve been blessed,” Moore said. “I’d like to ask all the churches to take some time out on Sunday and say a prayer for the city. We want everybody to stay safe as we begin taking on this new plan.”